The Injury Plague

I had been an athlete my whole life. Sports always came naturally to me and sort of became a way of life. During the week you would find me at practice or putting in extra work training on my own. On weekends I would more than likely be participating in tournaments, whether it be hockey or lacrosse. I had goals and collegiate dreams to fulfill and I worked day in and day out so that I could achieve them.

When training and being active, one does not typically think what a privilege it is to be healthy and have the ability to fully participate in whichever sport or activity they choose. It is almost impossible for someone healthy to take on an “injured” mindset and see the work and game they love through that lens. It isn’t until one sustains an injury themselves that opens their eyes to the heartbreak and disappointment that comes from getting injured after the countless hours of work one has put in to get to that point.

It Hits: As a Junior in high school I unfortunately injured my right shopirbv_11ulder multiple times during the year. My aggressiveness and physicality took its toll as shoulder dislocations became my worst nightmare. After the fifth dislocation that year I was in a pretty rough place. My life as I knew it, my life of sports, kept getting put on hold because of this annoying and frustrating occurrence. What was I doing wrong? Was I not training enough? Was I not doing enough physical therapy? Or was I possibly doing too much? How come it seemed like no matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked, my stupid shoulder would some how manage to screw everything up?

Enlightenment: During this rough patch, I definitely felt myself lose some confidence in my athletic ability due to not being able to play and practice nearly as much as before. Like previously stated, this was a way of life for me and it was very difficult for me to sit idly by. Luckily for me (kind of), my Dad had experienced the same plague of shoulder issues and had been through a similar rough patch before. He came to me one day and at the time, gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. He told me that, it’s not about where you are now but where you are going. He explained that though I may be injured now, what really matters is what I am going to do to get back to where I was and beyond. There was no time to sit around and sulk over my loosely put together shoulder (Thanks for passing those genes on to me, Dad) but I should rather embrace this hiccup and become stronger.

The Difference Maker: The way my Dad helped me was different from when someone is merely sympathetic because he actually challenged me. He did not simply provide his condolences and two cents and forgot about it. Instead, he called me to action. He demanded I actually do something about it rather than simply comfort me. His communication style really allowed me to feel understood because he was able to empathize and relate. I knew that he had previous similar experience in his life and it allowed his advice to carry that much more weight. He also served as an inspiration to me knowing that he was able to recover and still be just as active as he was before. This experience helped me see beyond the now and dive deeper into long term plans to remain healthy, active, and happy.

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4 thoughts on “The Injury Plague

  1. Hey Drew,
    I am sorry about your shoulder! I know what a toll that can take on a person’s confidence as one of my loved ones went through a very similar situation. They actually had to drop out of being on DU’s lacrosse team due to the constant injury. Props to you for not letting the disadvantage get to you and for being proactive about the injury, rather than letting it define you! It is a comfort to know that your dad will be there to push you for the better.

    Carly

  2. Hey Drew!
    Sorry to hear about your shoulder! I can’t imagine how tough that is. Although it’s a huge bummer that this also happened to your dad, it must have been nice to have someone who understands exactly what your going through. Sometimes it can be difficult to take advice or accept empathy from someone who doesn’t know how it feels, so I get what you mean by you were “lucky” to have him to talk to about it! It must be nice to know he is there for you.

    -Nina

  3. Hey Drew,
    Being injured is extremely frustrating and sometimes you need a little motivation to pick yourself back up. It’s great that your dad was able to give you advice since he went through something similar. I bet it was comforting knowing that other people, including your dad, have been able to recover from their injuries. Hope everything is going well with your shoulder!

    -Gina

  4. My dad has also been the main influence in my athletic development and helping me learn to be confident in my athletic ability. Athletics, particularly swimming and triathlon, have been a way of life for me too. I’ve been fortunate enough to have never suffered a serious injury that has sidelined me completely. My dad taught me that no matter what happens to be injured and what you can’t physically do to actually train there’s always something you can do to perfect your craft. This can range from cross-training to studying film or strategy and tactics, there’s always something.

    -Cole

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