Home > MaCHAMP! > Ouch.


I got bit by the injury bug hard this spring.  First, my shoulders started acting up and I went to PT once but decided not to afterwards cause it was mainly inflammation, not an injury.  Then, I hurt my knee by overtraining for a half marathon (which I can no longer run).  Then right as I recovered from that, during a rugby game, someone came in over a ruck as I was stepping over, and our subsequent contact twisted my ankle around.  I do remember hollering and then laying on the ground gasping for air and having tears running down my cheeks.  They had a trainer and a police officer at the game, who both ran over and I heard the police walkie-talkie for an ambulance, which I was like, “Oh my God, please, don’t.” The trainer worked my ankle a little bit and decided I hadn’t broken anything, and then I got carried off the field.  At first I couldn’t put any pressure on it, but by the time the ambulance showed up I could limp around.  I filled out some forms that said I had refused a hospital visit.

I keep trying to get back on the field after that, which is sort of stupid, I’m sure.  It’s just that I’ve seen girls play through more serious stuff than this ankle injury.  One girl on the team got her thumbnail ripped off, and after she contained the bleeding, got right back on the field.  Okay, I guess that’s not as serious as an ankle, which you require in order to walk, run, tackle, push, and prop (which is what I play).  But I did see one girl get on the field after tearing a knee ligament. And at the time I was saying, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?”  But after this ankle stuff, I keep going, “Oh man, if she can do it, why can’t I? Why am I such a wimp?”  I’ve been watching football and hearing players talk about playing through pain my whole life and I know that this is what they’re talking about.  How come they can do it? Why can’t I?  The season is over, but god damn, if I didn’t try to play every game.  During warm-up, like clockwork, my coach would say, “Harrison, get out of here!” I’d end up watching from the sidelines.  Boo. 

Everyone deals with pain differently, and I think, though can’t cite my sources, that there’s some evidence that pain thresholds are hard-wired.  I have a pretty low threshold for pain.  If I stub my toe, I’m on the ground asking my girlfriend to kiss me and make it better.  Sometimes she’ll move against a bruise of mine and I’ll inhale sharply, and be like, “Ouch.” I know that she has had worse bruises than me and she never reacts the way that I do!  When it’s something silly like a stubbed toe, or a papercut, I know – or thought I knew – that my reactions were overblown as a way to get free kisses.  But now this has happened and I can’t help but wonder if I’m making it all up.  But I wonder if that’s me just trying to “man up”, and pretend like this is a minor injury, when it might not be (I still haven’t gotten it checked out, but it’s been getting better on its own, Scout’s honor.)

Categories: MaCHAMP!
  1. StephG
    May 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Ah, being injured is never fun…

    I know people on my rugby team play through some intense stuff as well. Especially props…actually, anyone in the tight five for that matter. Seriously, as primarily a back, I mostly just shake my head in amazement, then go run more lines.

    Hope you recover alright and can get back to your normally scheduled athletic activities.

    • May 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      A love letter to backs:
      Dear Backs,

      Thank you for being fast. Thank you for being able to run through what seems like 1000 200 lb. women. For when you are running, I get to take a break. Thank you.

      Harrison, a prop

  2. May 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Not sure about pain tolerance being hardwired, but it certainly is different for everyone. My wife suffers from migraines that would have me on the floor whimpering, but she gets stuff done. On the other hand, I can put up with a lot of pain through-out my body. I have been able to increase my pain tolerance which is really useful during rough sexual play. There’s a sort of self-hypnosis I use to push the pain down. That said, some injuries shouldn’t be ignored and knees and ankles should be cared for rather than pushed beyond their limits. That player who played despite the knee injury will pay for it later, and probably more than if she’d just stopped and dealt with it. The accumulation of injuries through the years does slow a person down, eventually.

    Hope your ankle’s feeling better. Take anti-inflammatories, ice it when it gets puffy and let it heal. In the long run, you’ll play more if you take care of yourself.. scout’s honor, from one jock to another ;-)

    • May 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

      I find I don’t really like pain during sexual play, but well know the headspace you’re referring to. My girlfriend is incredible in that way.

      Also, I agree that there are certain types of pain that we do better with. For example, I have terrible, terrible allergies, but find that I only am sidelined by them if, say, my eyes swell shut (like they did last weekend!). It’s not pain, exactly, but a kind of discomfort I’m well versed in. I see other people deal less well with sinus infections.

      I’m almost better! Thanks for the RICE advice.

  3. G
    May 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Oh man, I cam sympathize. If there’s a sports injury to be had, I’ve probably had it. I don’t know if pain thresholds are hardwired; mine is crazy high, but I have no idea how it got that way. I honestly have to be pretty much immobilized to stop playing. But if I get a sinus infection or the flu, I am useless.

    I know how bad it sucks to miss out on playing, but once you tweak it, it’s much easier for it to continue to twist and sprain after that until it’s healed. Get it rested and get back to full strength, then you can throw yourself around all over the field again.

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