Injuries happen. And they suck. Big time.
You love this sport and you can’t play it. You’ve poured your heart and soul into your league and now you don’t get the big, bone-rattling, adrenaline-pumping payoff. Chances are good that in between trying to figure out how to stay involved and trying to cram 8 weeks of PT into 4, you’re doing a little bit of moping around. Right?
It’s so hard being away from the sport and well-intentioned — but often clueless — comments from people can send you into a spiral of tears, Ben & Jerry’s, and Jurassic Park marathons. (What? Just me?)
So…as a community, let’s all agree to not make having an injury worse by saying any of these things to each other again. (Or, you know, hand this article to your non-derby friends — wut r those? — so they know not to hit you right in the feels.)
1) “I told you roller derby was dangerous.”
And I also know someone who tore their ACL stepping off the curb outside of a Walmart, so you shut it.
Life is dangerous and I’d much rather hurt myself skating my face off than leaving the “home of the rollback”. Of course we all know that it CAN happen, we just hope it never happens to us.
Your astute observation of full contact sports notwithstanding, not everyone that plays roller derby experiences a major injury. I just happen to be and you’re not really helping.
2) “Now we can finally hang out!”
No. We can’t. I’m busily disappearing into a downward spiral of despair and Sour Patch Kids. Thanks for the invite though. I almost considered it.
3) “You were playing too much anyway.”
Wow. A huge dismissal of all your training goals in one fell swoop. Everyone trains differently and has different goals and expectations. Being Judgey McJudgerson probably won’t go over well. Especially right now.
4) “I had that happen to me and I was back in x amount of time.”
That’s either WAY too much time or sounds terrifyingly like you might have gone back held together by only duct tape, ibuprofen, and sheer willpower. Web MD has nothing on the stories other people will tell that will subsequently make you feel like you’re dying — or maybe nothing’s really wrong after all. Go see an actual doctor. Even if your injuries are exactly the same as someone else’s, you’re two different people. You’ll have two different recoveries.
5) “Can’t you just [insert folk remedy here]?”
Chances are good that you’ve tried everything out there already. R.I.C.E.? Check. H.I.R.I.C.E.? Check. Sage purification? Probably. Bathing in yak’s milk during a full moon? Sure. If it’s out there, it’s been tried. Being off-skates is usually the last option because it’s the only thing that’s been working. (Or, you know, your leg is being held together by pins.)
6) “Why don’t you just do something else for a while?”
What are these other things you speak of? Roller derby is special because of the community, the routine, the hard work. There’s a lot more to lose from an injury than just the skating. And there aren’t a lot of other options to fill in that gap. That CrossFit box down the street might be awesome, but it’s not derby.
7) “Last night’s practice was SO amazing.”
Okay. That’s nice. *cries into bag of Oreos*
If your team is killing it in-season, hopefully you can enjoy their successes with them and not be too bitter. They’re working hard to make an awesome team that you get to come back to.
All kidding aside…
Everyone experience injuries differently. If someone in your league suffers an injury, try to be understanding of what they’re feeling. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your derby life and realize a few weeks later that you haven’t seen that skater for awhile.
Want to avoid that?
Make it a point to reach out to your injured skaters. They’re not just off-skates, they’re out of your community. They’ve lost a little bit of family. Some skaters might want to hole up and lick their wounds, but some skaters might want a job that keeps them involved. Check in and figure out what that skater wants.
And most importantly, remind them that the league is ready for them to kill it whenever they come back.
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