Whether you are entering your first turn on the track or racing away from stumbling and brain starved “walkers”, being warm and limber is an important factor in regards to the longevity of your skating career (or life).
Whatever sound your body just made, wasn’t a good one, and now your down on the floor, maybe rolling around and writhing in pain, or crawling to the bench, dragging your feet behind you, or like me, hobbling around the track, still trying to catch up to the other jammer (stupid stupid stupid).
Soon enough somebody is handing you a bag of ice and the gear is coming off…or if you are me, you are putting your gear back on and demanding to play one more jam (stupid stupid stupid!).
Injuries. They suck.
It happens in derby more often than not, and most likely if you haven’t pulled something, strained something, sprained something or broken something…you probably will. Is that bad karma? Sorry!
Anyways, though it is difficult to absolutely avoid injuries when playing a contact sport like roller derby, there are a lot of variables that are in your control, and actions you can take to prevent body parts from falling apart sooner rather than later.
Let’s take a look at the lessons I have most recently learned…
- Limber Up! Stretch and warm up the muscles you plan to abuse for the next hour or so during a game…give them some lovin’, they will thank you later.
- Once you feel something “tweak” or pull or move or whatever and it impedes your ability to skate/stand/walk etc, get OFF the track and take OFF your skates.
- Once you take off your skates, KEEP YOUR SKATES OFF. Jamming for the remaining 8 minutes of the game is not worth being on the bench for the next 8 weeks.
- Get First Aid A.S.A.P. You are not impressing anybody with how tough you are…seriously.
- R.I.C.E the shit out of that injury if applicable (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Start doing this right away (side note: placing a glass of cold beer on your knee while balancing your foot on a bar stool at a strip club will not quite do the same job…stupid).
- Make a Physiotherapy or Doctor’s appointment.
- LISTEN to your Physiotherapist or Doctor.
- Be patient.
Injuries suck! Especially ones that keep you from doing the things you love to do. If you know me, you know I am not very good at sitting and waiting for things to happen. However, I also am a strong advocate for looking at my glass half full (in the past few weeks half full of liquor…all kinds, apparently, I’m not picky) and finding the silver lining in the clouds.
Having to take off my skates and focus on how my body has been feeling and healing has given me a chance to slow down, really appreciate the passion I have for my sport, and also realize that I need to take better care of myself.
I have definitely realized I need to continue to work on my ‘limbering up’. I am probably the most inflexible human that has ever walked the earth, and though I used to use this as an excuse to not stretch (Huh? I know…), I have come to realize that this is the exact reason I must stretch (duh) and work on the stuff I totally suck at (like touching my toes, or that ‘scorpion’ move…don’t ask).
Whatever weakness you feel you may have, work on it. It might be painful, and frustrating and downright fucking annoying, but trust me, it will be worth it (and maybe someday you can do whatever the hell this chick is doing).
Also, though it has been extremely difficult to sit on the sidelines, it has absolutely given me the fire and motivation to work ten million times harder once I lace up my skates again.
More than ever I am thinking about derby, dreaming about derby, and planning and outlining in my derby starved brain about how much more kick ass I am going to be at derby once I finally get to play derby again!
So for all you out there suffering from long-term injuries, short-term injuries, derby burn out, unrelenting fears of the apocalypse resulting in agoraphobia, or whatever else that might be keeping you from doing what you love, here it is in a nutshell:
Rule #18 – Limber Up: Love every muscle, tendon, ligament, bone in that tight little body of yours, because if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will.
Insane graphic credit goes to my fellow blogger and derby love, Wry ‘N’ Ginger from the NWO Rollergirls, check out her blog at: http://cquilty.tumblr.com/