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The BJJ Game Plan for Injuries

August 25, 2009

Just thought I’d throw out a post on injuries.

Things have been going great with training. Sparring match after sparring match, the techniques seem to just flow on out. The submissions are crisp and steady. Training partners have been showering praise. Even the higher belts have been noticing. It’s been nothing but good times.

Then it happens. A perfectly harmless maneuver, one that’s probably been done a hundred times before. Only his time sound accompanies it – a sharp POP.

Sure, keep saying “it’s only a sprain” enough times and perhaps it’ll come true. But it won’t because it’s not. It’s full blown injury. And things go down hill from there.

That’s exactly how it happened to me – three times, same body part – and the chances are that’s how it’ll happen with other members of the Jiu-jitsu community. If you haven’t personally had a major injury yet, the safe money is that you probably know someone that does.

Here’s a short and sweet game plan when it comes to injuries.

  • Properly warm up and cool down
  • Stretch afterwards
  • Avoid hazardous sparring partners
  • Pay attention to your body
  • Massages help and yeah they feel good
  • R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, elevate) minor injuries
  • Seek medical attention for major injuries
  • Need surgery? Sports doctors or those that compete are gold
  • Going into surgery? Have a good support system in place
  • After surgery do your rehab, workout harder and don’t forget your prehab
  • Stay positive; you WILL heal up, you WILL get back to jiu-jitsu
  • And for any type of injury, a complete and full recovery is better than a quick one

That’s pretty much it. Oh, there are some things from my own experience I’d like to share as I just had knee surgery on the 14th of August.

Big injuries suck – mentally, physically and financially – that’s were the support system comes in. Friends, family and loved ones you can count on when you’re hurting.

Here’s something I learned from the 171st episode of the Fightworks Podcast with Danny Dring and took to heart – prehab is just as important as rehab. Rehab is the foundation for your physical conditioning. Prehab, from what I understand it to be, is supplemental training specifically for that recovering body part to prevent future injuries. It’s addition exercises to your regular workout routine long after rehab is finished.

And finally, I learned from that it will probably be far more longer that I’d like to before I can really get back to doing what I want to be doing. Pre-injury-me, in January of this year, was in top shape. I could do a hundred sit ups, a hundred push ups and immediately spar for 30 minutes easy. And that version of me still got injured. Post-surgery-me has to work twice as hard just to get back into shape and unfortunately that’s nowhere near the same fitness level of pre-injury-me.

My physical therapist, Toru, who I met with a week before my surgery, told me flat out one year. To walk somewhat comfortably – one month, give or take a week. To jog – four months.  To play sports at a low level – around six months. It’ll probably be one year before I can normally train again. To go at full intensity, longer still, because, no offense to basketball players out there, BJJ is definitely not Basketball.

His exact words in English were, “Basketball, easy. Run, stop, shoot ball. Six months. Newaza, hard. Legs all over, push, pulling, lots of stress on knee. One year, better to wait.” Knows his stuff, helped lots of Judoka on their way back to the mats. I’m in safe hands.

There is the dire feeling to rush things, especially after surgery, but if there’s anything we learn from training jiu-jitsu, patience is the key to getting better.  There are no short cuts to excellence.  Obtaining a black belt takes hard work and perseverance .  Injury recovery is no different.

As I go currently through my own rehab, I wonder how long it’ll really take me. But you can bet I’m going to approach my recovery with the same work ethic and drive I did when I trained BJJ.

The way I see it; the better care you give your body now, the longer your body will be able to do things you want years later.

And I see myself doing jiu-jitsu for years to come.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. jiujitsu365 permalink
    September 6, 2009 10:54 pm

    Well wishes for a speedy recovery Patrick!

    • September 8, 2009 10:17 am

      Thank you sir! I shall do my best to make a complete and full (redundant but I need it) recovery.

      Keep up the good work blogging and training over there!

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