Advice Em Dash by Hale Yeah

Published on August 8th, 2011 | by Em Dash

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Em Dash by Hale Yeah

Dealing with Injuries

You’re at your doctor’s office, waiting to be told that your knee/ankle/foot/shoulder is fine and you can go right back to doing what you’ve been doing, but maybe with a bit more ice and ibuprofen thrown in. And then your doctor returns with your x-ray and a very serious look on her face. Uh oh.

So you’ve got an injury! This is the moment that every derby player dreads. What happens next?

Stay cool

You might feel like a truck just hit you, or like your world has just been shattered, but try to save the five stages of grief for later. Right now, it’s important to get as much information from your doctor as you can about your injury: how to heal it, what to avoid doing, what the recovery timeline is, and what your treatment options are. If there might be surgery involved, this goes double. If you’re overwhelmed with emotion, you won’t be able to think of the right questions or focus on what the doctor is telling you, which will make it harder for you to get better.

Mourn…for a while

OK, now that you’re out of the doctor’s office, call your mom or your partner or your derby wife. Six weeks off skates?! With Regionals coming up! You’re allowed to wallow…for a little bit.

Tell the team

Your captains, managers, and teammates are probably worried about you, and will be even moreso if you just drop off the face of the earth. Tell them what’s up, and let them know what you need. Most derby people want to help their fallen comrades, but they don’t always know how. Do you need someone to drive you to a doctor’s appointment, bring you groceries, or just come over to your apartment and goof off and watch silly DVDs with you to take your mind off your injury? You can ask your teammates. They might not be able to, but someone might be wondering how she can help, and she’ll feel good about doing something nice for you. You’ll return the favor when you’re healthy and she’s the injured one.

Make a plan

Maybe this one’s just me, but I feel better when I know what the next steps are. Come up with the timeline for your recovery, and figure out what you need to do (and what you can do) to stay in shape while you’re off skates. That way, you won’t feel like you’re broken forever and ever–you have an end in sight! That said, every injury is different, so don’t adhere rigidly to your plan if you aren’t healthy enough to do it.

Take care of yourself

Do your PT. Do not sit around eating HoHos and drinking beer on the nights you would have spent skating. Once you get back on skates, you’ll really appreciate all the work you put into staying in shape and getting your injured part back to top fighting form. That said, don’t overdo it and injure yourself even worse in an effort to stay in shape. Your first priority is recovery.

Stay involved

Even if you can’t skate (or even do off-skates drills), try to stay involved with your team and your league. Keep doing work for your committee, or even volunteer for more responsibility than you could take on when you were skating 10 hours a week. Go to your team practices and scrimmages, and consider running lineups or helping your manager. If you aren’t mobile enough to get to practice, watch some derby footage to develop your derby brain while your body heals.

Now that the doctor has cleared you to be back on skates, what’s next?

Celebrate

Hopefully that one’s self-explanatory.

Don’t push too hard

If the doctor says you can get back on skates, great! But that doesn’t mean you should do 3 hours of full-contact practice and 100 squat jumps your first night back from a knee injury. Start slow, and give yourself permission to do that. See how it feels to do squats off skates before you put your skates on. See how it feels to gently touch your knees to the floor before you start doing knee falls. The last thing you need is to reinjure your carefully healed injury by doing too much too fast. Derby will be there in a few weeks, and you’ll be better in the long run if you’re strong, healthy, and have your endurance back before you attempt to do the crazy apex jumps and other things you could do before you hurt yourself. (Note: Do not listen to any medical-sounding advice I give you, as I am not a doctor. These are just examples. For better medical advice, check out Papa Doc’s column.)

Stay Strong

Are there areas of your body that are weak? Work to strengthen them with a program of off-skates exercises. That’s the best way to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. And you know more than anyone how much it sucks to be injured.

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Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/

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About the Author

Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/



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