Injuries and Back Surgery

I have been trying hard to think about a topic other than injury for my first post but I simply cannot. My mind is pretty consumed with my injury, and my imminent surgery.

For nearly my entire rowing career I have been dealing with back issues, as most rowers do. It started in college in 2004 and has been nagging me on and off for the entirety of my career. In 2013 after the Olympics Tom and I decided I should try rowing starboard. Unfortunately my body had molded to port side due to the previous 12 years of port rowing I had done. I had a spasm and tear in my disk materials which slowed me down but didn’t stop me from competing in the 2013 world championships. But after that it kept bothering me, and I was never quite right.

Over the years you certainly can’t say I haven’t been proactive about the situation. I have been seeing the national team PT man since 2004 which I correlate directly to my ability to compete thus far. I firmly believe that in rowing you have to be proactive about treatment and prevention of injuries.

This March my back couldn’t take it anymore and my disk fully (and largely) herniated. After many different doctors opinions on the matter, I decided to give it a few months to try and heal up. Unfortunately it has not healed after three months and keeps significantly bothering me off and on. So I will be going in for surgery on July 8th for my microdiskectomy. While it is scary I am also looking forward to fixing my back problems once and for all. I am eager to heal fully from this surgery and give myself a chance to come back in the Olympic year. It will be hard, and there are no guarantees in rowing; but I would love to be able to finish out my career on my terms and not based on an injury. So only time will tell.

My goals so far during this injury process have been to stay positive and focus on the way I can learn and grow from this experience. That is easier said than done and I sometimes feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster. It’s during those down times I focus on my friends, family, pet and my other hobbies.