Tuesday, January 13, 2009 5:02 PM
Happy New Year, fellow Cyclones
My personal journey as a Vet wrestler has taken a decided turn for the worst. As some of you may know by now, I have worked hard to get back on the mats this September after a pretty ghastly rotator cuff tear I got during an open tourney a couple of years ago. By the time I had it properly diagnosed 10 months later, it was really nasty. I had surgery, did my PT, and was ready to go this winter. I was gradually getting my strength and aggressiveness back, and was looking forward to April in Vegas.
Then, at a practice a couple of months ago, I just couldn't go on during a practice in which I was wrestling Dave and Ken. Neither guy had done anything to injure me, but my back just seized up on me. Fast forward several frustrating weeks later, and I was diagnosed with three bulging discs in my neck; they are severely pinching a nerve or three, leading to serious discomfort in my back and bad tingling up and down my left arm.
A few days ago, I started oral Prednazone and began wearing a Somi brace, in order to keep the weight of my head off of my neck. I can't take my pain meds during my steroids intake, so I have to suck it up for another week and a half. Then, PT begins in a month, the brace comes off (hopefully) in six weeks, and then, in a YEAR I can take another MRI to see if my doc will let me get back on the mat.
Nobody ever told me that this would be easy, but man, this sucks.
I'm going to start visiting a little bit when I get my brace off, and will be able to coach a little bit, but I think I'll probably break into tears if I come back any sooner. I'm really bummed over this, and miss all of you guys.
I have just a couple of words of wisdom to share. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, or should do anything differently during my workouts. However, looking back, I'll never approach practice the same way again, that's for sure; IF I'm ever allowed back, I'm going to work my neck out LIKE MY COACHES TOLD ME TO FOR 20 YEARS before I begin. With all the time commitments we all have, I basically tried to wrestle pretty hard every second I could; it wasn't much, so I chose to go hard rather than drill or stretch/exercise properly during that limited window. Maybe when my boy is older, I'll have more time to get into the kind of shape I used to be in. But I think that I chose to wrestle too much, too hard, than what my body was in shape for; not in terms of overall strength/conditioning/mental focus, but in terms of being able to support the trauma you go through in a match. That takes a whole different level of preparation at 'our age', I think.
For what it's worth, I hope that someone else can learn from my mistake (?) here. And I'm STILL going to Vegas!