Injury Update

On Monday, I received the results of the MRI I had over the weekend.  What was originally thought to be a slightly torn medial meniscus, turned out to be a grade one medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain.  So, while a tear of the cartilage separating the bones would not have been terrible, there is a chance it would have nagged me throughout my career and later on in life.  The sprain is better news for me, and there is a loose estimate of two weeks for my return.

I began rehab yesterday.  I have very good and painless mobility of my right knee, and the rehab program is primarily designed to build up my leg and core strength doing exercises that do not put strain on the MCL.  By doing this, when the ligament has healed completely, I will already have built up strength in the surrounding muscles and ligaments and be that much closer to full recovery.

While injuries are physical, it is often most difficult to deal with the mental strain resulting from them.  There are three issues athletes face when having an injury: 

1.)  The frustration of being injured and dealing with the monotony of days not being able to participate on the field is very difficult.  In the moments right after I was injured, I was already preparing myself that the season was over and that I might be faced with never being able to play again (a serious knee injury to a catcher could be disastrous).  I would later find out that this serious injury was highly unlikely, but I was still faced with having to sit around and just watch afternoon practices and games.

2.) Dealing with rehab tends to be arduous and painful, and getting back to the pre-injury condition requires great intensity.  As I have begun this phase, I am once again amazed at how fast strength can be lost through lack of activity.  While I have been doing pushups and abdominal work since my injury, I have been able to do nothing with my legs.  This is the primary focus of my rehab program, and after the first day, I was sore.

3.) Perhaps the most trying issue to face after injury is the subconscious thoughts that it might happen again.  Having pulled my hamstring several times in the past, there was always a thought in the back of my mind that I might pull it again soon thereafter.  I will be forced to suppress these thoughts and any resulting tentativeness, for it will hinder my performance (and actually increase the likelihood for injury).

So, while the injury happened eleven days ago, the effects will linger much longer.  However, in dealing with injuries in the past, I am confident I will be able to return to the success I was experiencing prior to my injury.

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