Saturday, February 19, 2011

Broken Bones

I think an inevitable part of a life lived with passion is injury. Part of going after a goal with all your effort involves accepting and facing risks. Sometimes those risks catch up with you. Unfortunately, you don't always get to pick the most convenient time to experience an injury, but they never seem to come at a good time for taking a rest. I suppose there isn't ever a convenient time to be restricted from moving without pain for an extended period of time. When you are used to spending the better part of your free time using your body at the limit of its potential, being forced to sit and do nothing can seem like a long and cruel punishment.

Jakob is learning all about injuries and recovery this year. I think he has seen the doctor more in the past 6 months than he has the entire rest of his life. It all started this fall with the eye issues. Then at the first meet this season he had the ankle sprain. Next, we were in Oklahoma for a meet when he fell in the shower and sprained his wrist. Fortunately, all of these issues passed relatively quickly. For the past month he has been working hard and getting stronger. He was looking forward to competing at full strength, for the first time this season, at a meet in Wichita this weekend when another character building opportunity presented itself.

Jakob was at the gym this past Tuesday evening working on his high bar routine
when he took a fall. He said he thought he had bruised his foot pretty badly but he got back on the bar and finished up the routine. It was obvious it was more than a bruise but he iced it and finished up the practice doing everything he could without using that foot too much. One of the parents at the gym is a doctor. After taking a look at Jakob's foot, he thought an x-ray was definitely in need. With the past two trips to the hospital yielding nothing but simple sprains, coupled with his ability to get up and finish the routine and practice, I didn't expect them to really find anything. I was wrong! He had broken 3 metatarsals, the bones that run along the top of the foot. If you ever happen question Jakob's dedication and perseverance to gymnastics, just remember the time he worked out for another two hours with broken bones in his foot.

It has only been a few days since the injury and although he is in a boot with
crutches, he is already been back to the gym. For the next 4 weeks as the bones in his foot heal, he will focus on core and upper body strength. I'm sure he will have some emotional hurdles to work through as well. He was in the middle of the same skill that he fell from and sprained his ankle at the first meet in Arkansas this year. I can only imagine, after having two different injuries from the same skill, a high bar half turn, that every time he does a half turn in the future he will remember these events. This is one of the things I like about gymnastics though, it forces you to keep facing your fears until you conquer them. I believe there is great value in activities that teach you to continue trying something over and over again, even after it hurts you, until you finally perfect it. This applies to many things in life. Rarely are the most rewarding challenges accomplished on your first try with no adversity. Success is sometimes given to the lucky but I think more often, its given to the one who is willing to keep getting back up and trying again, no matter how many times it takes.

The last I wrote about Jakob was that he was getting burned out on gymnastics and questioning his goals. In the past month that feeling had diminished and he was charging forward again. It seems a little ironic that as soon as he regained his motivation for competing, he experienced an injury that potentially ended his season. There is a possibility he might compete again this year, however, the chance seems pretty thin. He will definitely miss the next two competitions and just be getting cleared to use his foot again at the same time the State meet is held. But if I know Jakob like I think I do, after having much time to sit around and think, he will come off of this long break hungry to work hard again. Next year will bring lots of excitement.

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