by Brenda Lau
All it took was one dangerous play and I was hindered from playing my sport competitively for two years. This is how I bounced back, with the help of BMT.
The taste of victory is sweet, but the taste of victory with a team that you have trained with, is unforgettable. After competing in the UK and finishing my last UK nationals, placing 13th out of 30 - the highest we have ever placed in the UK nationals, I yearned for that feeling back in Malaysia.
During my hunt for such a team, I decided to join a bunch of players for a tournament for the time being. I went all out, running down discs, making bids on defenses and trying to outsmart my opponents most of the time. But that got the best of me.
On one fateful point, I reached out to block a disc, while my opponent, male and full of testosterone, reached over my stunted stature and took the disc. As a result, he collided into me from the back and as unprepared for the fall as I was, I landed and twisted my knee, with a popping sound.
Two weeks down the road, I slowly came to terms that I gained a partial ACL and partial meniscus tear. There was no quick fix to it. Surgery wouldn't improve the functionality of my knee, so all I had to do was just rest and let it heal.
Words cannot describe the amount of frustration I felt. I was told to rest for a year. I could blame my lack of gym sessions, or the guy who collided into me without any apologies afterwards, but it did not change the fact that I was injured.
If you gave me a time machine to travel back in time to reverse what happened, half of me would say yes, the other would say no. Strange isn't it? Of course I would rewind time and avoid the injury, but the injury also gave me a whole new level of body awareness.
Starting with physiotherapy sessions at Ben's Physio, I learnt my scoliosis played a part in my body's muscle imbalance, causing my quads to be overloaded, whereas my hamstrings barely did any work. My pelvis was tilted backwards and my bone alignment was just all over the place. My core was not working the way it was supposed to be as well. Simply put, my muscles were all working in the wrong way.
Embarking on the road to recovery was an intense mind battle. Many times I thought I have recovered enough, only to compromise my injury again. I was stubborn and determined to feel that high again. But I soon realised that if I didn't heal properly, I would never be able to feel that winning high ever.
Finding my crutches
The journey was not an easy one as I had to battle mental and physical roadblocks. My first pair of crutches were the months of excruciating physiotherapy. After I was finally strong enough to return to the gym, I started off with simple strengthening exercises with the band. Soon, I progressed to being able to do a full squat. Six months later, I started lifting weights.
But the struggle was trying not to depend on my uninjured leg. That is when BMT became my second pair of crutches and put me back on my two feet. Coach Prince set me back to basics and made sure I was doing the correct strengthening exercises within my limit, and slowly progressed my workouts to incorporate single-limb exercises. This helped gradually build the strength in my injured leg.
Having support for your mental state is also important and BMT helped to set my mindset straight. I also did my strengthening and conditioning workouts with a group, so the moral support helped.
It has been two years since the injury, and if not for my stubbornness and minor setbacks of re-injuring my knee, I would be injury-free by now. But I have returned to the field and enjoyed my time picking-up for various teams. While I am still in the midst of achieving near-100% functionality, I have learnt that recovering from an injury is not a race.
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