The human body is tough but it’s not a machine. When we exceed our maximum potential something’s gotta give. I’ve met so many players with past injuries…
There’s always a risk of injury in sports. Sometimes it’s preventable with a proper warm up and conditioning. Sometimes it’s pure bad luck, e.g. getting hit in the eye with a shuttlecock. When it comes to preventing sports injuries, common-sense doesn’t seem to be that common. My coach tore his ACL at the Australian Open 2016. Although his doctor advised him not to play, he still has a hit now and then “to strengthen the knee”. An ex-pro friend from Canada showed up to a badminton social session after playing rugby for the first time. He had bruising everywhere and couldnt lift his arm above shoulder height. But his competitive nature couldn’t let go.
Off court, injuries make great icebreaker topics and can open up people because it’s so deeply personal. The recovery process takes its toll on one’s physical and mental well being. You can tell if somebody has gone through a long road to recovery by the deep sighs and body language. It can also be a bond between players to have the same type of injuries. I immediately empathise with people who have suffered shoulder injuries. It allows us to discuss the most appropriate stretches and exercises in detail. As we share our stories, we open up and actively listen.
With the benefit of hindsight, people will tell you what could have been done to prevent their injury. I try to take their wisdom and also use common sense to minimise the risk of injury. I’d say that if it hurts for more than a few days, that’s a sign something is wrong. It’s a good idea to get it checked out by a qualified professional if needed.
My training partner believes that sacrifices are necessary to improve and reach Open Grade level (the top grade in Australia). He wears knee sleeves and gets physiotherapy treatment with Michelle at Tensegrity. By contrast, I believe health is wealth. There’s no point killing yourself to become an elite athlete if you’re already an adult and mostly play socially. If an injury sidelines you for a few weeks, you’ll be worse off than if you had remained injury free.
But perhaps pain tolerance can be trained? One of our coaches trained as a junior professional badminton player in Indonesia. The camp training regimen was 6-7 hours a day, 7 days a week. She experienced wrist discomfort for 2 months. During a game in women’s singles at the Sydney Badminton International in September, she heard something snap. It was her wrist ligament, torn. The area was so swollen she iced it and promptly saw a doctor. She will surely need to rest and recover, but she’s still coaching.
Injuries suck. The best way to treat injuries is to use commonsense. And it’s true what they say, prevention is better than cure.