Friday, August 17, 2012

Training/Competing While Injured: Thin Line Between Desire and Stupidity

the stuff that hasn't kept me off the mats (other than the ribs)

Read the full article HERE

Hyperbole or truth?
They simply describe the extent of the injuries but don't go into any diagnoses, which makes me wonder if he has Tito Ortiz syndrom   or if there is some degree of exaggeration. The quotes used are chosen by the writer of the article and are short on specifics:
"The left half of Kim’s body in particular is an emergency ward unto itself. His left knee can only be described as “dangling.” The pain is severe enough that the wrong leg technique with his opponent could leave him with irreparable damage."

"His left shoulder is, if anything, worse. Plagued with problems since 2007, it finally became dislocated late last year [when] Kim landed on his left arm while blocking a shoulder throw. He also suffered ligament damage there....Then his left elbow broke down during training. Repeated impact against the mat left it difficult to flex. A month before the London games, he suffered a ligament break to his left ring finger. ...He also suffers from joint inflammation. ....A devout Christian, Kim prayed every night at 11:11. He wanted the gold."

"After arriving in London, Kim was unable to practice without painkillers and anesthetics. For the gold medal match, his left arm was taped tightly and numbed."

If that's true, I'm curious as to what painkillers are allowed by Olympic Style testing and what are banned.
Since Nick Delpopolo was flagged for Marijuana metabolites and if sporting at this level requires some amount of injuries and thus painkillers, then why would the remnants of something that does not enhance competition (marijuana) be grounds for disqualification yet painkillers that allow a player to compete while clearly and dangerously potentially injured?

The above brings up the uncomfortable reality of high level training and grinding through training and injury before competition, before an MMA fight or whatever other combat/contact sport.

I spent the last 9 months training with a torn ACL, torn meniscus, and fracture in my leg. I managed to train 4-6 days a week that entire time (2x a day during the following summer) and was training full speed getting ready for the Pan Ams in BJJ, despite CLEAR and STRICT orders by my orthopedist/doctor to not get on the mats or compete in a any high level athletic activity beyond jogging and perhaps some weight lifting. I also managed to medal/win matches in Judo, submission grappling, and smaller BJJ tournaments in that span of time.

I've trained pretty consistently with injures ranging from bruised ribs, sprained wrists, rotator cuff damage, torn meniscus in my other knee, numerous broken toes and fingers and still competed in quite a few grappling tournaments with those injuries. I've also fought in MMA when I was clearly overtrained and fought through some knees/kicks to the groin that in retrospect were pretty damaging and potentially could have led to a much worse injury than just losing the fight.

In retrospect I've learned a lot about how much works and does not work while injured, but the fine line is just that.... a fine line between bravery and stupidity. Or at worse, shortening your overall career.

An athlete, has the right to draw the line when and how they see fit, but to young players, particularly those in their teens, I don't know if the above is something to ascribe to or avoid as training at that level and competing in that condition has likely and almost certainly shortened the overall length of his career.

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