gloveglu athlete Lewis Ward writes about overcoming injury as a professional goalkeeper
When you can see and sense “the light at the end of the tunnel”, that is when players normally become the most frustrated with the rehabilitation and can possibly re-injure or set themselves back again. This unfortunately has been the case for me in my past injury experiences. When you start to feel good and nearly back fully fit after an injury and your rehab has been going well, sometimes you can get carried away. You might feel ok and want to keep testing and pushing yourself and prove that you are match fit and ready to return to play.
A few seasons ago I broke my arm, I was declared fit and passed every fitness test that the physios gave me but unfortunately, I had not taken a serious knock-on my arm. I somehow managed to land on one of the screws in my arm and it sent the nerves haywire for a week. Sadly, it was the day before I was meant to come back and play my first game that I took this knock, and it took a week to settle. It was just one of those things that if this had happened earlier in the rehab stages, it wouldn’t have made a difference and the physios, and I would have understood what had caused it. Which means that I would have felt this pain before and been able to cope and deal with it. However, as I felt good all the way through the rehab and felt nothing until this point it was a nervous couple of hours. I wasn’t sure whether I had broken it again? Had we done everything we could have to build the strength up in my body? Fortunately, an x-ray the same day confirmed that my arm was healed, and we spoke to the surgeon, and he said that I had landed on one of the screws in my arm. He said that if I had landed on it two weeks ago in the rehab it would have desensitised my arm to the pain. I still sometimes land on the screws in my arm but I am so used to the sensation now that I barely notice it.
Then just my luck with my ankle the season later it has been no different. The way I landed on my ankle and ruptured the ligaments could happen again, so we (the physios and myself) must be certain that it is strong and cautious that if it happens again my ankle will be strong enough to deal with it appropriately. So even though I have come back fully training and playing again, I must keep doing my prehab before and afterwards to continue to build the strength in my ankle and sure it is as strong and try to reduce the chance of something like that happening again. You can always use tape to strap your ankle but for me then you become dependable on the tape and your ankle becomes weaker and won’t build up its own strength up and it takes longer to come off the tape when you use it every day.