Injuries and Holding the Form

I’m really hard on myself.

I don’t so much mean mentally, although I am that too, I mean physically.

This became pretty evident on Thursday’s run.

My calves are beginning to have issues. The area directly behind my ankles have become extremely tight to the point that I had to stop and walk for a little bit on my Thursday run.

I mentioned this to my physical therapist on Friday and she did some soft tissue work and used a cold laser on it. It feels a TON better now. Thank you Optimal Living

I was talking to someone earlier in the week about the injuries I’ve had over the years. These are just the major issues. I’ve dislocated my right shoulder 3 times and my left 2 nearly 3. I’ve broken my right ankle. Severely spranged my right wrist. Dislocated my pinky finger. I’m fairly certain I’ve broken several toes, although I can’t confirm that one. I’ve dislocated my knee and I’ve had 5 concussions. And I have some defects in my lower back.

I’m a little beat up.

The knee is a funny story. Ok, I think its funny.

My last year of college I decided to join the Purdue Marching Band on the drumline. For those wondering I am NOT a drummer. They needed cymbal players and since that’s what they needed and they claimed they could teach me to march and play I agreed to help them out in that position.

I enjoyed the heck out of my marching experience although I am glad I only did it one year. its a HUGE time commitment. I also don’t think that my body could have taken another year of it. 2 of the shoulder dislocations and the knee dislocation where during that one season in the Purdue AAMB (All-American Marching Band).

So, the team was pretty good that year and we went to the Sun Bowl in El Paso Texas over Christmas break. We did countless parades, pep rallies, rehearsals and other random gigs over a 5 day period. I loved my bandmates and am still great friends with many of them. Spending that much time with them all was incredible but exhausting. Athletically speaking the marching band is no joke. And on top of that I felt like most of them weren’t taught much about the importance of stretching, nutrition, and especially hydration. As a student athlete in high school I was taught to stretch before and after activity, I was given some basics at least about nutrition and that hydration doesn’t mean a large glass of water right before an event. The band, at least when I was in it weren’t really talked to about that type of thing. But that’s a tangent that I may go on later.

After the parades, rehearsals and other gigs the game itself was upon us. We did amazing during the pre-game drill playing a show filled with music from Queen. as we where in the stands I knew that my knee was getting close to its limit. it was sore but not to the point that I would consider not going on. During halftime we did a patriotic set that was a huge crowd pleaser finishing in a shield on the field. I just happened to be in the middle of the field on the 50 yard line. And I knew that my knee was hurt. It was screaming at me but all I had left to do was play the school fight song, “Hail Purdue” and get off the back of the field. This turned out to be final straw.

“Hail Purdue” starts off with an intro that was march in place then all at the same time start marching at a pretty good clip. Normally we would just march forward and the form would collapse into the sideline until we where all off the field and the song was over.

On this day, due to things with the bowl game we needed to go off the back of the field. Which meant we marched in place. took one step forward flipped and marched off the back. It was a maneuver we called a TTR (To The Rear). I’ve done this hundreds if not thousands of times at different points through the season. BUT never on artificial turf.

Purdue shield

So I played the intro, thankful that we would be done soon, stepped off, and made one little mistake.

When one does a TTR is important to stay up on the tow of the foot you step off one and shift your weight to that foot as your turning. Keep in mind that this happens VERY fast. I planted my whole foot with all my weight. So when I did the flip turn MOST of me turned. My foot stayed pointed at the press box as the rest of me tried to turn. Something had to give. Since I marched in combat boots my ankle was safe. the next joint that could give was my already strained knee. And it did.

I’m told by the rest of the drumline that they could hear the POP/CRACK over their playing and I was down.

I did quick evaluation of the situation as I was falling. “I’m falling. There is ALOT of marching band still behind me that may or at not see me. If I can get back to my spot I can hold the form and people won’t notice. I MUST get back to my spot and hold the form.” And with that on a dislocated knee I got off the ground and got to my spot. It was perhaps the most excruciating thing I’ve ever pushed through. But I held the form. Until I crossed the sideline. Then I passed out. I’m told that I managed to fall on my back.

When I came to there where a bunch of people around me stripping my uniform off. A guy in an ASU (Arizona State University) shirt told me not to move and that they would take a look. A eerie calm came over me. there was nothing for me to do but lay there.

Once the uniform was off, we wore shorts and a t-shirt under it, they looked at it. The guy came up to my head, introduced himself as a doctor with the ASU team and told me that it was dislocated. He also said that he could get it back in place but that it was going to hurt. ALOT! He asked if I wanted a count or should he just do it.

“Just do it.”

And with that he nodded. Suddenly I had a guy holding down my chest, a guy on each arm, two people on my left leg and one on my right thigh. He then grabbed my foot by the heel and ball. Without warning it felt like he twisted it and shoved it in all at once.

I screamed.

I screamed so loudly that the teams on the field stopped and looked over to see what was going on.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. When asked to rate pain on a scale of one to ten that’s my 11.

Luckily, they then gave me a shot and I don’t remember the rest of the game.

I’m told that I had a hilarious running commentary. I wish I knew what I said.

So, why tell this story here. Well, I’ve taken a couple of lessons from it.

1. “Whatever pain I’m in it could be worse.” Of course there are different kinds of pain and not everyone reacts to it in the same way. There would have been no shame in stopping and waiting for the injured player cart to get me off the field but that wouldn’t be my style.

2. “Half of everything is luck, the other half is timing.” Good doctors are amazing. Turned out that was one of the top knee specialists in the country. So I go pretty lucky there. If there was a time to injury my knee that was a pretty good one. and I had an entire semester that I didn’t really need to do much athletically to rehab it.

3. “You’ll pass out before you die.” This is something one of my teachers used to tell me before cross country meets but this drove the lesson home. Not sure why but I find that kinda comforting.

4. “Hold the form.” No matter what you are doing others are counting on you to give your best. Even when you maybe fall short of the goal or reaching that PR, others will appreciate that you gave everything you had.

Next run is Saturday. a 10 mile run at 9:45. this will be a tough one. Until then…hold the form 🙂

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