Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Yesterday before practice I had to go to the doctor to pick up a written referral for the chiropractor. He called me back to his office and when I got back there he asked me how much pain I was in as I had, apparently, grimaced when I stood up.

I started to say that it wasn't pain as much as it was discomfort and he shut me down telling me not to fool around with him and to admit how much pain I was in at the time. I finally admitted that yes, my knees still hurt and legs were in pain as well (granted not as much as before but still in pain) and he said that I should stop playing for the rest of the season. I have rested, iced, compressed, and elevated (the RICE method) for weeks if not months and it's not paying off so I should take the season off. I balked at doing that he laid down the facts for me. I have played rugby twice a week and sometimes three or four times a week since February and my body was reaching a point where it couldn't take the punishment.

"How many practices have you missed this year?" my doctor asked.

"Three or four?" I ventured.

"How many times a week do you work out?"

"Four or five," I said.

"You're burning out and you need to stop," he finally said. We went through all of the stuff that I have been going through from knees to legs to this to that and basically he laid down the law that I have been injured for some time and have been playing injured for just as long. Unless I wanted to risk certain major injury and the serious potential for surgery then I would stop playing for the rest of the season and focus on getting better and stronger for the following season.

Now this is why I like my doctor. He always says that the choice is up to me when it comes to my health. I can do what he says and reap the benefits of it or I can ignore him and face the consequences. He never forces me in one direction but he trusts that I will make the right choice since he's told me my options. At practice last night I broke the news to the coaches, one of which was upset since I had said I was healthy to play last week and that's why he put me into the match. I don't think they were happy with what I had to say but when faced with the possibility of getting seriously injured because I'm playing injured (and have been since about...late May or June) then I need to stop.

On the positive though, I can still do workouts at the gym to get my legs stronger. If there is pain I am to stop and not continue with the exercise. Of course he doesn't want me playing butch macho man and telling myself I can handle the pain when I can't either. As for practices, I can attend and do things that won't cause me to have to run or have major impact on my legs which limits me to lineouts and scrums. Taking a tackle, he says, is out of the question.

So that's my life in a nutshell. My season is over and I'm not thrilled about it but doing what I can to make it better than what it could have been...
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