How Professional Athletes Overcome Injury
While you certainly do not need to be a professional athlete to understand that injury is a normal - yet painful - part of life, the level of intensity and frequency with which you play your sport can heighten your risk. That is why we asked a number of Stoko Ambassadors, who are no strangers to injury, how they have dealt with injuries in the past. Who better to learn from than a group of individuals who have dedicated their lives to pursuing their sport?
Sam Tuff, Snowboarder
“Everything before my knee injury was basically a "Get the cast off (or not), go to physio, get on snow as quickly as possible before you fall behind". When I blew my knee, before I even finished tomahawking down the landing I knew my competitive career was probably over. I spent six weeks in bed after surgery basically crying the entire time. My recovery was around two years before I could properly walk down stairs or jog- which definitely meant a lot of mental ups and downs. Once I came to terms with what had happened, and worked on the mental aspect of things, it made the physical recovery a lot easier. Honestly still dealing with this one- given the absurd amount of metal holding my knee together, but the K1s have made me feel more stable than I thought I ever would again. As for the spinal cord- yoga and positive thinking.”
Kristine Krynitzki, Hiker
“Patience and gratitude are the biggest keys I have found to be necessary for graceful injury recovery. As a person who is always on the go and relies on physical movement as the biggest source of my happiness, being limited and restricted is so tough. About five years ago I rolled my ankle during a kickboxing class and tore my ligaments in 3 different places, rendering my ankle next to useless for months, and I was unable to do any activity that relied on ankle support (which is almost everything!) for a full year. No hiking or running for me was like torture. The first few weeks it was a pity party until I realized I was just making the situation worse. I decided to look on the bright side and continue living my life to the best of my ability, being grateful that I would eventually recover, and that there were so many things that I could still do like cycling and kayaking.”
Sam McKeown, Skier
“Keeping a positive outlook on the situation is key. Putting all my focus into coming back better and stronger than I was before is always my main goal. As well, realizing that injuries are merely a bump in the road on a much bigger path to success really helps me justify everything I’m putting into my recovery.”
Evan Bichon, Snowboarder
“About 4 years ago I broke my back, at first I was worried it would put my sports career in jeopardy but after working with some amazing individuals during my recovery and putting in endless hours of work towards recovery that changed! We created a new way of training in the gym tailored to me and I became both a stronger athlete and a stronger person because of the injury, later going on to get some of the best results of my athletic career to date.”
Shondra Martin, Hiker
“Getting taken out of sport due to injury is soul crushing. I try to keep focusing on the future and on recovery. Giving myself a recovery routine helps me stay motivated and on track. I also try to reframe my mindset to see this time away from sport as an opportunity to learn something new or pursue something I wouldn't normally make the time for. I've learned a lot about Astrophysics and Cosmology, and I want to dive into some neuroscience topics next.”
India Sherret, Skier
“I tore my right ACL in October of 2020 and had surgery early November. I'm lucky to have an amazing rehab team that keeps me moving forward as soon as I'm ready but never before. Being away from sport is tough but I've been using the time to pursue other hobbies and work on other areas of my life that I don't often have time to.”
When talking about their journeys to recovery, our ambassadors seem to touch on three themes: take care of your mental health first, know that recovery takes time and hard work and in the meantime, it can help to find a new hobby on your road to rehabilitation. We would like to add that supportive apparel can help you return to your sport safely and as soon as possible.