My Rotator Cuff Injury: A Bodybuilder Tale
Lifting weights have always been a passion. One that started many years ago, back in college, when a girl l I used to date left me. I was 18 and remember perfectly the aroma of my first real gym. Iron bouncing on the floor, endless mirrors, a line of perfect bodies…
I felt in love with the sensation you leave behind every session. But mostly, I felt in love with the innocence that proceeded after my first
three months, when I didn’t notice the changes my body made and everybody around me did. It was an instant click. I think I was just trying to forget that girl.
Anyway, bodybuilding became an obsession. Magazines, books, protein powders, supplements… everything. The lifestyle became second nature. I was learning about techniques, about Arnold, Lee Haney, Flex Wheeler and all the “legends” behind the sport. I became so crazy about it that I almost lost track of my career. For a moment I even considered becoming a professional. But steroids where needed and my common sense canceled the options as soon as I realized it.
No longer a bodybuilder
One day, after a year of hard training, I was bench-pressing when all of the sudden I went to re-rack the bar and missed the hook. A horrible destruction sound came out of my shoulder followed by a scream that stopped when somebody grab the weight. At that point the damage was done. My shoulder basically did a 45 angle rotation out of its axis and… Well, I had to find an orthopedic doctor to find about it.
Imagine how sad it feels to have an injury when you are so obsess with a sport and you can no longer practice it. At that point, all I new was that I barely could move my arm. An MRI was performed and two days later I had my first encounter with the orthopedic doc. He checked it out. In less than five minutes gave me a verdict: “You can no longer practice bodybuilding for the rest of your live”.
What? I started to cry like a baby. “But. What do I have?” My rotator cuff got so damaged that the doctor thought my days as an amateur where over. However, I knew that forever was too much.
I can’t deny I felt defeated. Every effort I made, every single thing I learned got me to this moment where I could no longer do anything. It just didn’t make sense. Rotator Cuff… At the time, that word was as new for me as Japanese sticks. I had two options: follow the opinion of the doctor or find out a way to fix it.
I learned everything about the anatomy of the shoulder: how it works, the ligaments involved, the primary functions, muscles… everything! Rotator cuff became my new obsession. Based on logic, I new I had hope.
A different point of view
I started to go to a recovery
practitioner to help me recuperate basic movements. Three months later I met by “chance” another orthopedic doctor. This guy had more experience with sports medicine. He had treated basketball, golf, tennis and football players. I told him my case. They looked at me and said: “One man’s opinion sometimes can ruin the life of the non-believer”.
He knew it was a serious injury, but he also knew persistence, faith and good guidance can recover the body. He quickly rewired my state of mind. Told me how to gradually train my shoulder and with a minimally invasive surgery, I was back in the game after only nine months. My rotator cuff and my whole shoulder became stronger and more flexible than ever.
Six months later and I was in the best shape of my life. However, I had more knowledge under my belt. I learned to train safer, to be more technical and efficient but mostly to trust my internal voice and always look for the opinions of those who see always the bright side of things.
I know orthopedic doctors treat all types of patients. However, I know non-professional bodybuilders and even pro ones are among the list of those under the sports medicine bracket. No doubt. Always seek the advice of specialized doctors dealing with athletes on a regular basis.
Never forget an injury is just a passport for improvement as an athlete. But mainly as a human being.
Surgeon’s Advice | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201 Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119