I’m currently suffering from Achilles tendonitis.
This has been caused by playing rugby on incredibly hard ground — my studs won’t sink into the ground so effectively I’m playing on ice skates. Unfortunately, this means my Achilles tenon is overworking.
I tried to play through it. I ignored it for 2–3 weeks. But now it has become too painful, and i can no longer play through the pain.
Then a story/ life lesson one of my old rugby coaches told me when I was 17/18 popped into my head.
This is a lesson that has stayed with me throughout my life.
It’s funny how certain teachers, coaches etc., can have a massive effect on a child/adolescent/ young adult.
In his day, he was an outstanding full-back and fly-half. He had an incredible boot.
So from the age of 16 (when I first started playing adult rugby) till the age of 19 (when I went to uni), he was effectively my kicking coach.
He would often give me advice and guide me with how I played on the rugby pitch.
He had a nasty knee injury which put him out for about 2 years.
Shortly after playing again, the doctor told him he should stop playing, but it was his call to make.
I asked him if he would play again — mainly because I would have liked to have played with him once, mainly as we both played 10 and 15.
He told me that the doctor effectively gave him an ultimatum.
“Would you rather chase an egg around a field for 80 minutes, or would you like to run around the garden with your daughter?”
I remember this had a profound effect on me.
Up until this point, I thought rugby was everything.
I was playing 2 matches a week. I had rugby training 4 times a week.
It was effectively all I did.
It suddenly made me realise that there is more to life than rugby or whatever sport you love.
We often think we can play, run, perform through these niggling injuries.
These minor injuries, such as tendonitis, often seem small and ineffective.
But after a while, these small injuries become massive and could result in an operation.
However, if you catch these small injuries early and take the required time off and do the rehab, you can continue performing at the top of your game and enable you to — in my coaches case, allow you to run around the garden with his daughter.