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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Injuries

We're going to get a little personal today. Just a warning.

February 2011 - I was on top of the world. I'm going to sound conceited here, but I'm going to be honest - I was a very fast swimmer. For a 14 year old, I had an extremely bright future in the pool ahead of me.

February 2012 - I hadn't really dropped time in about a year. I was still just as fast as I was, but I wasn't getting faster. This frustrated me, so I decided to start picking up extra distance sets after practice. For those of you who just missed that swim lingo - I wasn't getting faster, so I decided to swim more than everybody on my team by staying late and swimming long sets.

May 2012 - My shoulder started hurting.

It's all complicated from there. My freshman year of high school (4 years ago...#old), I experienced a lot of success in the pool. I had straight A's, I was swimming faster than ever before, and I was starting to hold my own against some stiff competitors. My sophomore year, I got cocky. I didn't think I had to work as hard as I had my freshman year, and so I didn't get faster. I didn't get slower, but I wasn't dropping the time like I had the year before. This was irritating to me, so I decided to up my game in practice. This lead to a shoulder injury.


I went back and forth to the doctor and to physical therapy, and basically came out with something a little different every time. It was inflammation today, tendinitis last week, I might have to get surgery, my labrum might be torn, just kidding it was my rotator cuff, now it's the bursa sack, etc. You get the idea. Basically, they couldn't pin down exactly one thing that was the problem, and concluded that it was a combination of degenerative muscle tissue, tendinitis, extreme inflammation, and probably something else that I can't remember.

Short read - my shoulder issues are pretty dang complicated.

Coming to compete at the collegiate level, these injuries have become more of an issue. I think that a lot of people forget that the mental side of a physical injury is almost always more debilitating. Rather, the mindset that you are injured is more difficult to deal with than the physical part of it.

Watching your teammates swim in a meet you know you could've swam in, watching them swim a practice that you liked, or having to sit out while you see everybody going through a tough practice together is so tough to watch. I can't describe fully how it feels.

My only advice that I can impart upon you all is to stay positive.

It is so so difficult to keep your head up when you feel like you're taking one step forward two steps back. You get cleared to practice and you hurt yourself doing the set that you wanted to do so badly. You get to swim in a big meet and send yourself back a few weeks because you're in so much pain. But the only other solution is to quit. My doctors told me to quit several times, but I don't want to. I hate being injured more than anything in this world, but it's forced me to appreciate when I can compete, and it has made me learn to not take things for granted.

I'm afraid I can't give you any advice on how to physically deal with an injury, because well, I'm going to leave that in the hands of medical professionals. But mentally, all I can say is hang in there. You just have to believe that it'll get better one day. That's the only way to get through it.

xx, Victoria
 

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xx, Victoria