Monday, June 1, 2015

Cowboy up!

“My first injury ever was a broken toe, and my mother made me run laps around the mat for the rest of the night. She said she wanted me to know that even if I was hurt, I was still fine.” - Ronda Rousey
My good friend and team captain of Prime, Mike McGowan, started an incredibly informative page on Facebook wherein he addresses common (and not so common) paintball injuries.  He details how to avoid, heal and recover from most injuries sustained playing our sport.  Check it out at:
Injuries are something I know a thing or two about...
2011 -The author being carried by Primemate Evan Manners and Matt Sossoman of Vicious
We have all played injured.  As we head into the maiden NXL event this week, I am nursing a broken toe on my right foot, inflamed tendon on my left and a damaged hip flexor.  When speaking to one of our up and coming players this weekend during practice, he said, “Pain is simply weakness leaving the body, right?”  I corrected him and told him that my family had adapted that phrase and put our unique spin on it.  “No sir, pain is weakness entering the mind.”
I regret telling him that.  He has a tremendous work ethic and I know that if he is hurt, he will now continue to push himself even if he is injured, possibly injuring himself more.  I am a perfect example of what NOT to do when you are injured.  I am doing okay for a player in his 40’s but I could be much better if I had taken better care of myself when competing over the years.  That is, if I had let myself heal and heal properly.  Most people will tell you I am practically glued together.  Granted, it is glue from the corpses of my fallen foes… but glue none the less.
In any sport, there is potential for injury (accept perhaps Chess… is that a sport?  And if you were injured playing it, I think you are playing it wrong).   Every athlete knows the risks when they compete.  The extent of the injury and the potential for further damage must be weighed. 
Why do we do it?  We all have different reasons.  Professionals do it because they want to get paid.  College athletes may do it because they want to keep a scholarship or be seen by a scout.  But paintball players?  We are a breed that for simple lack of a better term… are just too crazy.  Like most competitors, I think your average to above average tournament paintball player feels the need to compete when injured for no other reason than simply to show his boys he has a drive.  Very brave.  Stupid… but brave.  We are dedicated to the sport and when you love something, there aren’t many things that will stop you from doing it..  That is what drives us.
2012 - Mike McGowan dislocates his shoulder in Phoenix during a snake dive
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association says that athletes who play injured cannot only re-injure or attain new injuries but also experience psychological issues such as fear and anxiety, too.
 The key to all of this and the questions that one must ask themselves: “Is it worth it?” and “Do I know my limits?”  You have to recognize when to push forward and when to rest and heal.  I think all of us recognize a particular level of injury that is our limit.  Me?  Bleeding out of a majority of orifices would do it.  Notice how it has to be a Majority….
See?  Stupid.  Know your limits people.  Take precautions and keep yourself from getting hurt.  You can start by going to my boys page and reading up on how to stretch and avoid common injuries.
The maiden event of the NXL is just a couple of days away and for all intents and purposes, it promises to be quite the shindig.  I will be sure to post about it. 
Until water my friends...
Mike Bianca
Team Prime