Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Are You Injured or Hurt?

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with purpose.-- Zora Neale Hurston

Ok so I've done minimal if any research on this topic. Mostly I am speaking from personal experience or different things that I have encountered in my years paying attention to the sports world. Injury plagues athletes of all abilities in all sports in all places. Everyone who runs, jumps, tackles, or shoots wants to be injury free and has experienced some form of injury. Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to avoid injury. Lots of people take the preventative approach, which I think is the most effective but there is no injury cure all.

Running is one of, if not the most natural sport that we have. The movement is something that we do virtually everyday as regular citizens and not just the run geeks (myself included). Baseball, basketball, American football, global football, hockey, etc. are not things that come natural to us. I was in my kitchen practicing my baseball swing (don't judge me) and I felt a little twinge in my back. I realized that I don't routinely swing a bat so it was awkward. Major League Baseball players do swing a bat, all of the time but it isn't a natural motion. Running can be used to get from point A to point B but what purpose does throwing or hitting a 100 mph ball serve?

You're probably thinking, well 70% of all runners will experience some sort of injury. That's true. I don't know the exact statistics but I imagine a good portion of those injuries are of the overuse variety. ITB injuries, shin splints, tendinitis, Achilłes injuries are all overuse. Our bodies aren't used to the work so it breaks down unless we take a measured approach to building it to be regular use as opposed to overuse.

What business does a 6'9", 250 lb person have jumping 30-40 inches I the air and slamming a ball? After that display, said person drops their entire weight onto hardwood floors and sprints full speed in the other direction? Why would a 6 foot person who can run a 40 yard dash in 4.3 seconds and weighs 230 lbs run full speed into a larger person or run full speed and stop on a dime to go the other way? There is no reasonable excuse. The body cannot handle these movements and will breakdown in various ways to prove that it can't handle it.

Practice can only help some of these issues but it's the uncertainty of movement that a team or an athlete cannot train for. Running, for the most part, is predictable movement. Straight, straight, straight and uphill, downhill, turn... For X amount of miles. The same thing a runner does in training is pretty much the same thing that happens on race day.

I've learned a lot from injury and I have only suffered those injuries one time each. I make adjustments in make sure that I don't make the same mistakes twice. The reason that runners are 70 years old and completing Ultras is because of the predictable movement and the conditioning process in order to reduce overuse injuries. 

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