Tommy Cumberworth: Injury – ain’t no bitch!

14 Feb

A personal reflection by Tommy Cumberworth:

For an athlete and sports person, injuries are quite simply, a bitch (excuse my language). As someone who has had his fair share – including multiple surgeries and ultimately career ending injuries – it is a topic that I unfortunately know well. And it is this experience and insight into the strategies and mindset to rebounding from injury that I wish to share. See below my top 5 tips to overcoming and rebounding from injury.

#1 Seek the best treatment possible – For me this is priority number one. Spending the neccesary time to research who the best practictioners are can be the difference between getting back to full fitness and not getting back at all. Returning to sport, competition and training at high intensity is very different to Joe Bloggs getting back to his day to day of sitting on his back side. So finding a surgeon and physio who understands both your physical expectations and the mindset of an athlete is crucial. The internet can be a fantastic tool for this research, but most often the best recommendations come word of mouth from trusted sources. Seek the advice of people who have gone through similar injuries and have come back successfully.

#2 Work hard on your rehab –  This means following the physio’s rehab plan to the letter and not cutting corners! You need to work as hard on your rehab as you did in training. This will ensure you lessen the risk of re-injury whilst also building a strong foundation to build upon once you  return to training. Rehab exercises can quite often be monotonious and boring in comparison to your normal training, the key is not to lose focus on the end goal.

 #3  Set goals – Ultimately your goal may be to return to competition, but within that, there will be multiple milestones that you will need to pass on your way to your end goal. You will need to be realistic on how you measure yourself and leave old goals behind as you begin to build yourself up again. This will give your rehab process additional focus as you strive to get to the next milestone, remembering each one passed is a step closer to you getting back to full fitness.

 #4 Keep yourself busy – When the ability to train and exercise is taken away from you through injury, it can leave quite a big hole in the day and your life, especially if your training gives you a sense of identity and is a major source of your self esteem. If like me, being strong is a major contributor to your confidence and training is a main outlet for stress, you will need to find other activities to keep you busy during the period this is not available to you to fill the void. For me this has come in the form of helping others through coaching, reading, meditating and spending time with loved ones. All of which have helped keep me busy whilst keeping me in a positive mindset.

 #5 Surround yourself with positive people – Maintaining a positive attitude and mindset is everything when coming back from injury and having positive people around you who love and support you really can speed up the healing process by ensuring you keep on track. On the flipside, you need to avoid the battery-drainers who can add additional stress and slow down the rehab process and have a negative impact on your comeback. Luckily for me, being part of a vibrant CrossFit box means there is no shortage of positivity and motivation – it hits you as soon as you open the shutters!

In summary, being injured sucks, but there are ways of going about your recovery to lessen the blow and make the comeback trail that much smoother. I am writing this a day after bicep repair surgery that will see me out of action for 5 months and I wrote this article just as much as a reminder to myself as well as hopefully helping others who are in the same boat.

Injuries and setback can build character as well as expose it. I fully expect myself to come back stronger from this injury both mentally and physically and I’m looking forward to the day I’m back hitting PR’s. #everydaymaxout #aintnobitch

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