Thursday, February 25, 2010

I was in the best condition of my life - I don't understand it....

'I was in the best condition of my life - I don't understand it.'

That was in essence what the athlete was reported in the media as saying - after his hamstring tore off from the bone.

I don't want to draw attention to the athlete or the organization, as they don't deserve anything perceived as negative aimed at them - they are simply a pretty good snapshot (in my opinion) of where the elite sporting world (and all levels down) are at in relation to the perspectives towards injury.

You see, the person responsible for injury prevention/rehabilitation added to this snapshot when he was quoted by the media as saying words to the effect:

'It was just a freak accident.'

You might get by now that I don't buy into this perspective - that in my opinion the athlete was not the best shape of his life (at least not in a global way - maybe in one specific area); and that it was not a freak accident.

Let me guess - after watching the video of the incident (no, I didn't guess on this, as this was reported in the media!) they didn't see anything significant that would explain why the injury would occur. Does that make it a freak accident? If we allow our bodies to get into an appropriate condition, and this leads to an injury during a relatively benign activity (like getting out of bed, tying your laces, picking something up off the floor - and yes, these are common actions associated with 'can't be explained' injuries) - does that mean it was a freak accident? No - it means we got so off track in our condition that a minor incident was all that it took to take us over the edge.

So we have a franchise out of pocket for the players salary for the year, a teams plans thrown into turmoil because they just lost their marque player a week or two before the season start, an athlete who is out of action for the year and who knows what long term ramifications - these are not light consequences. These are not freak circumstances. He was not in the condition of his life.

This occurred as a result of the low level of understanding of professional athletes and their service providers (and the broader community) of what it takes to cause an injury and what it takes to prevent an injury.

It's not good enough, but if people choose to participate in this perspective of injury, then they can't shift the responsibility away - they got what they deserved. There is a better way....

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