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Archive for March, 2011

The ups and downs of coming back from injury

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Not having to many injuries in the past I didnt realise just how lucky I had been.  Whenever someone talked about coming back from injury I never really took any notice, it just went in one ear and out the other and I thought bad luck for them. But after being hit by a car in November last year I have learnt alot about just how long it can take to come back and the ups and downs involved in the process. Initially I was in shock and denial of what had happened and how serious this injury actually was. First we thought wow the knee is really swollen and I carn’t walk on it but maybe I’ll be able to run again some time next week. My first trip to the hospital here in Thailand made me even more confident this might happen with X-rays not showing any fractures and the doctor giving me some shitty tablets made from the intestines of silk worm to reduce the swelling. I thought great, with some luck I will be back into it in no time and still a chance of Ironman Western Australia in three weeks. From there it went down hill, five days later I still could’nt stand the pain of any weight on my leg and decided to fly home to get some medical treatment that I trusted. After an MRI and Ultrasound the doctor sent me straight through to emergency.. a blood clot had formed in my calf about 25cm long, the top of my tibia (bottom of the knee joint) had been fractured, possibly needing to be pinned and my ligaments on both sides of my knee were in a real bad way, one partially torn.

Booom! This was bad!  Now with the blood clot I could’nt have any surgery if needed for at least 3 months as my blood had to be thinned to clear the clot, then it would take another 3 months to be back into action if all went well. This was all leading into Christmas, as usual a million bills had to be paid and I could do nothing but sit on the lounge and play with my four month old son, which was great in one way but drove my partner Danielle crazy, basically having two babies in the house! After being so active then doing nothing at all, it was very depressing and I was really angry with myself for having such a stupid accident.

I was lucky Danielle had taken 18 months off from work while we had our son and she was able to look after me and drive me around from appointment to appointment which dragged on for a couple of weeks. I had blood tests, doctors, specialists, radiologists, the list goes on, but she was amazing.

After the first couple of weeks things started to brighten up, I could feel the blood clot was clearing as there was no pain and the specialist said there was no need for surgery just physiotherapy. I am usually a reserved kind of guy but when he said that I had a smile from ear to ear and I could have hugged him. I thought another two months and I’ll be 100% and went home and started to plan out some races over the next 6 months I wanted to do.

I was a little to optimistic and pushed the boundaries in recovery, I would do everything the doctors and physio gave me and initially improvement was on a daily basis. Firstly being able to move the knee then being able straighten it out to doing some exercises then finally getting rid of the brace all together and being able to walk and jog. But it takes a long time to recover from a serious injury like that, I am only just starting to be able to run freely again. Still each day presents a different challenge and there will be a niggle in a different place almost everyday, four months on from the accident. One day I will run really well and start to think of what I can achieve in the next 12 months, picking races and getting excited then the next wonder if I should still be doing it at all.

Progressively things are getting better but like any athlete I suppose I am impatient and want to be back right away. The injury hasn’t just been a test of my physical capabilities but has tested me mentally in a way I never imagined. Now when someone talks about how long it takes to come back from injury, I understand!

Cheers, Aaron.

TBB Photoshoot 2010