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INJURY ON THE FIELD: Man down… man down.

I pulled my hamstring mid-game over a month ago during the second week of the UltiNY Saturday league. To heal up, I took a little over 10 days off, including skipping week three of the league (which was canceled anyway). I reduced/ eliminated my jogging and stretching routine to give myself some time to heal; though, upon reflection I may have backed off too much.

Anyway, when I started to feel a bit better, I played… and, I then pulled it a second time (week four) during the first game of the day. Lucky me, I know.  I continued to call substitutions, be a voice on the sidelines and cheer on my teammates, but didn’t return to the field, which I know hurt the SC’s chances.

So after some rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) and because I hate to be sidelined, I played the following week in my usual Thursday pick-up game. During the night I only jogged and played in my Vibrams rather than cleats. Occasionally, I felt a twinge of pain, but could at least move around the field at a slow pace. I also subbed when possible. So, I thought I was close to being recovered.

Back of My Left Leg

Back of My Left Leg

That Saturday, week five of UltiNY Club League (7 May), I decided to jump in for a few points of the end of our second game against Nightmare Pheasants. Because of my ill-advised decision, I returned to my original level of soreness, decreased my range of motion and added bruising behind my left knee, which appeared that evening. This got me worried because one of my teammates mentioned that one of the signs of major damage (or…gasp…tearing) is bruising around the knee. Other signs of injury include:

  • a popping or tearing sensation
  • inability to put weight on injured leg
  • swelling and or pain
  • inconsistencies between uninjured and injured hamstrings when you run your hands down each leg

Definitely time to lay off the Ultimate. As much as it pains me, I have to realize that I am getting older, and with that comes a slower recovery time. I also have to be more strict about getting the proper care. I went without health coverage for so long that now when I do have insurance, I don’t use it like I should. With all that in mind, I decided not to play at all the following weeks, giving myself four to six weeks of rest.

ANY POSITIVES: So, What have I learned?*

First, I learned I really need to take time off when I injure myself. Second, I need to increase my level of stretching, jogging and sprinting exercises to prepare my body for the type of abuse it receives from Ultimate. As the Mayo Clinic Website states, “Try to be in shape to play your sport; don’t play your sport to get in shape”. And, third, when I’m in doubt about the damage I’ve done, see a medical professional for the right diagnosis.

While I am recovering, I plan to follow the proper steps to get myself mended and be in better shape, which will include seeing a medical professional.

I have started to do Yoga and will do my best to stretch on a consistent enough basis before I practice or play any pick up. I will also build my leg muscles with lunges, one legged calf raises, lateral and front-to-back hops, squats, scissor jumps, warm-up diagonal cuts, etc (there is a ACL Tear prevention video with most of these exercises at Injury Time Out). Lastly, and most importantly I will not take the field until I am completely warmed up!

Online Resources To Check out about Injury:

Injury Timeout. * Check out “Muscle Strains” by Jamie Nuwer, MD. You might recognize her name from USA Ultimate.
Mayo Clinic. **
Sports Injury Clinic.  ***

PLEASE, consult a medical professional when injured. I am not a medical professional, so can only provide limited information (not treatment) and comment on my own road to recovery.

* Injury Timeout disclaimer:
“The information contained on this website is not meant to be a substitute for evaluation by a qualified health care professional. The information provided here is meant for educational and informational purposes only. It should in no way be considered as formal medical advice for your health problems. You should consult a qualified health professional if you are seeking medical advice for an injury or illness. Go to the emergency room or call 911 for any severe injury or illness”.

** The Mayo Clinic’s disclaimer:
“This site and its services are for consumer educational use only. Nothing contained in this site is or should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The services provided on this site are here to educate consumers on health care and medical issues that may affect their daily lives. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of any medical, nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment”.

*** Sports Injury Clinic.net disclaimer:
“The site sportsinjuryclinic.net including the ‘Virtual Therapist’ is purely a source of information and can at no time replace the expert eye of a qualified professional. We recommend seeking professional advice before embarking on any form of self treatment. Neither the content or nor any other service provided through sportsinjuryclinic.net is intended to be relied on for medical diagnosis or treatment. Never delay in seeking professional advice because of something seen on sportsinjuryclinic.net“.