This post is from December 2014
My recent injury has really given me new found respect for those skaters that return to derby from a break. I’ve found the mental pain much worse than the physical and was surprised by how down it’s made me feel.
I’m currently feeling really weird about derby – I haven’t (yet) missed it at all, I just feel numb about it. This could be for a few reasons but I’m hoping that eventually I miss it and want to get back.
So this list is as much for me as it is for all of my injured comrades.
It’s not a list of things you MUST DO NOW. Its more suggestions for you to do when you’re ready and able. That is except for number 1, 2, 5, 6, 18 and 20. Those are MANDATORY!
1. Allow yourself to be sad – It’s not silly to be upset about being injured. Being a Roller Girl, for most, is a large part of Who You Are. It’s your identity and to have it suddenly taken away from you, even for a brief time, can be wrenching. It really is like grief. If you can’t work either due to your injury, this loss of identity (not to mention worrying about money) can be tenfold. On top of that, exercise, such as skating, releases feel good hormones so suddenly cutting off the supply can send you on a massive endorphin comedown.
2. Get support – If you’re used to spending time with your teamies three times a week, suddenly having zero social life sucks. Even more so if your particular injury prevents you from leaving the house! Make sure you don’t get lonely, try and keep your friends and family near. Having a workout buddy for when you’re feeling ready to start hitting the gym can be helpful too.
3. Blog about it! – Start a blog or a tumblr, talk about your experiences, share your recovery tips! Ranting and logging progress can be really helpful for you and fellow broken people going through the same. There are plenty of Broken Derby groups out there, sign up and share. As above, don’t be on your own!
4. Make the most of it – Use the time away from training to see the friends you’ve not met up with for months. If you’re not on meds, you could even *gasp* have a night out! That is, without worrying about being hungover at practice. (Don’t go crazy though, booze does not help you heal) Go see your favourite band, have a weekend away, have a LIE IN EVERY SUNDAY if you like!
5. Binge watch [insert that show everyone raves about but you’ve never seen] – I see nothing wrong with watching the entire 5th series of Justified in one day, becoming dangerously obsessed with Timothy Olyphant…
6. Start your rehab – Follow your rehab advice, get started on it asap. Being proactive about your recovery will help you feel more positive. Just don’t go crazy, you can hinder your progress if you go too hard.
7. Eat good – Now is not the time to pig out on battered mars bars and deep fried pizza (although, I see nothing wrong with indulging occasionally), not only will you have a carb hangover making you feel more like poop, that junk food doesn’t offer many nutrients. Get them good vitamins in, lots of protein and calcium, especially if you’ve got a broken bone. (Apparently, a healing badly-broken bone can demand up to 6000 calories a day, I’m not sure my tiny distal radius breaks really warrant that….)
8. Visualise #1 – Use mental imagery to “practice” when you can’t do it physically. Imagine both the technical parts – how each move feels – and the bigger picture such as playing in a bout. Your brain can’t tell the difference between the physical and imagined so you can “play” derby safely from the comfort of your brain! Like virtual reality but without massive goggles.
9. Visualise #2 – Use imagery to help heal your injuries, or at least give yourself a sense of control over your healing. Theres nothing worse than feeling like you have no control over your body, imagery can help you feel more powerful. Imagine a bright light healing your tendons or imagine those bones knitting back together….
10. Get out more – Being stuck indoors all day is no good for you. Go for a walk/hobble/roll around the block if you can, soak up some fresh air and vitamin D. It might take you a while to get round but it will make you feel better.
11. Work around it – If you are able, try and exercise around your injury. When detraining, you lose fitness and strength quite quickly (but this rate eventually tails off) so it’s a good idea to keep some level of fitness. Got upper body injuries? You can still train your legs, maybe even run or do plyometrics. Lower body injuries can be trickier to work around but there are options – use an Arm Bike machine, lift weights if you have access to them, perform one-legged versions of lower body moves… Get you some of them endorphins.
12. Do something new – If you’re going to have a lot of time on your hands, why not learn something new or take up a new hobby. Anything you’ll enjoy and that will keep your mind off your injury. Maybe you’ll get amazing at knitting, create a nice Jumpers For Cats webshop and make a million!
13. Don your grey/pink/stripes – If you feel mentally ready to return to derby but cant yet play, why not NSO or give reffing a go? It will give you a different perspective on the game, a new respect for officials and even spark an idea for a new drill or strategy. You may even find your calling as a true Zebra! Just getting back involved with it and hanging out with your buddies again can help you feel more useful and part of the team again.
14. Take a break – (no pun intended) You might actually find being involved in derby makes you feel worse, bitter or jealous. Mabye pre-injury you were overwhelmed and burnt out by all the stuff that comes with being an active member of your league. Maybe you just need to not think about it for a while, to recharge your enthusiasm or to decide whether you really want to return. All of this is completely ok.
15. Develop a footage fetish – Now you’ve got the time, you could devour all of that derby footage that you’ve been meaning to watch. Dissect and analyse it, discover new plays, new strategies and break down how that fancy footwork is done. OR just enjoy watching derby for the fun of it, because it is awesome!
16. Set goals – Setting daily, weekly and monthly realistic goals can help you feel more in control of your recover and help you track your progress. If you (me) haven’t been great at tracking progress pre-injury, this is a great time to get into that habit! Great athletes track and record everything so they can tweak and fix things to become better.
17. Gross people out – If you get copies of your X-rays or have photos of your horrific injury, why not share them with the world. Personally, I find stuff like that fascinating so feel free to tweet me your vomit-inducing pics! If you have a video of the injury happening, even better.
18. Hug a cat – Its a scientific fact that hugging a cat (or a dog, ferret, horse…I’m not discriminating) will make you feel loads better (unless you’re allergic obvs). I guarantee your cat doesn’t care that you can’t walk or that your cast smells of cheese, if you provide treats and let her sit on your head, she’ll love you. On a serious note, having something that is relying on you to feed them really gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
19. Fix your other broken bits – You know that niggle in your knee or that twinge in your shoulder you’ve been ignoring because you didn’t want to have any time off, now’s the time to get that fixed. Go see your sports therapist, get a massage, work on stretching and strengthening… Reduce your chance of re-injury for when you return.
20. REST GODDAMN IT! – You’ve no doubt been going all guns blazing prior to your injury. Your body is probably crying out for some time off! Healing takes a toll on your body so for gods sake REST. If your doctor tells you to rest, do it! Overdoing it or pretending it doesn’t hurt won’t help. Rest up, heal up, take the pressure off and take it easy on your return.
ROLLER DERBY WILL BE HERE WAITING FOR YOU IF AND WHEN YOU RETURN. YOU DON’T NEED TO RUSH, DERBY LOVES YOU AND WANTS YOU TO COME BACK WHEN YOU’RE GOOD AND READY.
Sending out all the healing vibes to all the broken skaters out there!
Treble Maker 909 xx