By Tessa Wallington and Bronyn Mazlo
Injuries. The thing in the back of everyone’s mind when playing a sport. Accidents happen, but there are ways to prevent and treat injuries. Keeping your body in shape, fueling before training, and doing tricks you are qualified to do can help to prevent injuries in the first place. Sometimes though, doing everything you can to prevent injuries isn’t enough, and accidents happen. When recovering from an injury, it’s important to stay positive, and help to keep the other parts of your body in shape, even when one part is injured. Based on personal experience, we know just how it feels to have to recover from an injury, and there are a few things you must always remember to help you get back to the thing you love that much faster.
When first injured, it’s normal to fall into a star of frustration, anxiety, or depression. We get it. Injuries trap you in a place where you want to keep continuing to train, but there’s that internal voice whispering, “what’s the point?” Why bother training if you’re not going to be healed for a year? While it can be easy to fall into that mindset, keep training throughout an injury, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Even if you’re just pumping out a few squats, holding a few hollow bodies, or pushing through a couple of pull-ups, every little bit of strength will make your comeback easier when it is time to ease into physical therapy and, eventually, circus. It’s also very important to keep an optimistic mindset on your body during an injury. Be careful not to let losing muscle and gaining some weight affect your self confidence and grit to return to your passion. Stay in contact with friends from training, no matter how tempting it can be to isolate yourself and cut off connections to everyone.
After an injury has passed, it’s time to get back to training! Once you’ve been cleared to begin exercising again, you must ease yourself back into your regular training. Going to classes even if you aren’t back to your full strength yet can help your brain mentally get back to your old mindset. I went to most of my regular classes, and when I wasn’t able to do something, I sat in oversplits or did sit ups. Although, one part of your body may not be one hundred percent, your other muscles could be better than before! Repetition may be your best friend when recovering from an injury, muscles will start to come back, and new and old tricks alike will begin to get better after exercises and tricks have been done many times. When dealing with an injury, it’s important to understand the difference between pain and soreness. My biggest problem was figuring out if I had pain and needed to stop, or if I felt sore, and had to push through to get better. Overall, the most important thing when recovering from an injury is listening to doctors, physical therapists, and your body.
Injuries are painful and problematic, but they are also a reminder to take care of our bodies. The months of agony, tears, and physical therapy allow us to learn how our bodies work and ways to cope through inability. Returning from an injury is like returning from hibernation. Everything is tight, groggy, and weak. Conditioning, stretching, and relearning skills are frustrating, but once you push through the initial struggle, you break free of those long months and emerge strong and powerful. Remember, what happened happened. Don’t dwell on the “what if’s”. The recovery process may seem like forever, but it is only a small part of your circus journey. Stay positive and keep going. As Lao Tzu remarked, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”