I want to talk to you about something today. I want to talk to you about getting hurt and what we call injuries.
If you’ve ever been to the mountain top and you heard the roar of the crowd, if you heard the roar of the jet engine as you started your trip back home, (and quite honestly it’s one of the dopest and most sobering sounds you ever hear after you compete is that engine sound) You’re getting ready to get on that plane and go back home knowing that you haven’t done well but if you’ve ever heard that sound, tilted the seat back or ordered a cocktail and started crying and asked yourself..
What the hell am I gonna do now? If you’ve ever had this experience, then you know what it feels like to be injured. To be down on a football field.. hearing a crack on the inside of your leg or your arm. And to think:
What am I gonna do now? I thought I was going to get a scholarship. I thought I was going to the NFL. I thought I was going to play in sports after college . Something happens to you in practice or at the damnest of times.
And you not only have a break, but you’re broken. And if you’ve ever experienced this and you know what it feels like to be physically and also mentally broken through an injury.
I mean no matter if you’re going to the Olympics, trying out for the Olympics, the NFL, the NHL, Abu Dhabi, the UFC ballots, the Ultimate Fighter, your local Pop Warner team, or your high school wrestling team, you will fall from grace sooner or later. And when that happens you’re going to need some sound advice and a good kick in the seat of the pants to get you going.
Or just a change in perspective.
And although injuries are not wanted or desired or hoped for… the fact of the matter is that they bring an enormous amount of clarity and focus to your life.
And if you choose to look at it in the right way, you actually realize and know that you can improve in some different ways.
You get to understand how you can achieve strength in the moment of weakness. There’s a reason why the Scriptures speaks to us about being strong when we are weak because it is in those times when you get to find out exactly how strong you are.
One of the worst injuries that I’ve ever suffered was the rupturing of my LCL, my lateral collateral ligament on my left knee. This injury occurred in 2003 and nine months out from the Olympic trials. The rehabilitation process for this injury is like nine to 12 months and it is a brutal. Danger is a lot more severe than the common ACL injury that we’re all very familiar with.
What makes it so difficult is that the LCL runs on the side of the leg and by default is an invasive surgery. There’s no way to do it microscopically. There’s a large scar that happens on the side of the leg. It’s one of the worst of all the knee ligament injuries. I think of myself in a judo match while I was trying to attempt a flying arm bomb, when I hit the ground all I heard was a loud pop. I didn’t scream and yell and holler. I just stood up and looked at my coach and said.
“I think I just blew out my knee.”
He put his head in his hands and I tried to walk back to the line and continue fighting but every time I put weight on my leg, my leg just buckled. I could see that in the match.. I had to give up. I limped off to the side. I gathered my belongings I took a cab back to the hotel. And I just laid on the bed and I just started crying.
I have been hurt before in college. You know I’ve had shoulder injuries and shoulder surgeries and PCL surgery..my posterior cruciate ligament. So I have been hurt before.
I’ve never been hurt to the point where I was devastated. I was devastated at this moment because I just saw everything that I’ve been working for sliding through my fingers like sand.
I called my dad and we talked about it and he felt bad about it. My mom told me later on that he cried after I got off the phone with him. I got up, took a shower, went to sleep and I woke up in the morning, and I told myself the same thing I told myself when I had shoulder surgery in college.
Never miss a rehab session. Ice when you’re supposed to ice. Rest when you’re supposed to rest. Make all your doctor’s appointments and make all your physical therapy appointments. Stick to your diet strictly, give your body the opportunity to your heal your injury, and not process junk food, and do whatever it takes to be the best.
And through those things I was able to identify my strengths through my weaknesses and for that and I’m grateful.
I went to the weight room and lifted weights on my upper body like I was a mad man. I was on my upper body odometer. I was bench pressing on one arm, rowing one arm pushups. I got super strong in my upper body and really made some great strides in my judo and in my career because I was injured. My weakness and my injury actually helped me become stronger.
If there’s anything that you can be thankful for today, try to find what that thing is. I’m thankful for the times that I’ve been hurt because the times when I’ve been weak that’s what I’ve actually been my best.
This is Dr. Ferguson. Have a super fantastic day.
Remember, I love you but God loves you best.
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