Back in July or August of last year, during the last softball game of the season, I was chasing a ground ball just beyond my reach in right field. I overextended, lost my balance, and came crashing down on my left arm with all my momentum. I quickly propped myself back onto my feet with my left arm hanging rather limply, picked up the ball, and fired it as best I could into the infield. Nothing felt broken, but my arm was sore as hell. When I stepped up to the plate I could barely lift the bat to height, but, despite that, I was able to drop a ball down the middle and put a single in the scorebook. I thought nothing of the injury, figuring it would pass.
Summer, fall, winter…they all came and went and the arm never recovered. My left arm handled neither weight nor medium range of motion well. Softball season was approaching and I decided I would start conditioning myself a bit. I attempted to get some push-ups in, but I nearly broke my nose as my left arm gave out mid-push-up. I finally thought, “Well I guess I can’t avoid getting this looked at any longer…”
I don’t know if it’s a pride thing or a procrastination thing or what. I mean, I’m certainly not afraid of the doctor. I’m rarely sick and I actually enjoy being told about what may or may not be wrong with me so that I can proactively take care of it…except for my arm. There’s no way you can call anything about my process proactive.
Maybe my procrastination stems from never having sustained any kind of long term injury. I’ve never broken a bone nor have I ever gone to the hospital for anything short of the accident that resulted in the scar on my head. Nevertheless, I needed to do something about my arm.
As best they could tell, one of my muscles had tightened from the injury and my shoulder had steadily lost strength and range from disuse. I was prescribed physical therapy, which I was actually kind of excited about. Turns out that I was stoked for precisely the right reason. See, physical therapy, at least for an injury as minor as mine, is a lot like what I imagine having a personal trainer is like. Someone who knows what they’re doing writes up a workout plan for you and you carry it out, despite your discomfort. I quickly developed a rapport with my trainers and therapists and the two sessions per week became my favorite parts of my work routine.
I’m the kind of guy who likes to do things right if he’s gonna do them at all. Not having any real knowledge about exercise regimens, especially considering the wealth of conflicting information out there, is probably the biggest deterrent to me actually working out. The beauty of the PT regimen is that these guys ostensibly know what they’re doing and I get to cede that responsibility and just go with the flow.
My arm became much improved after just about three months of sessions. I don’t think I’ll ever have the natural, loose range of motion that my right arm has always enjoyed, but at least I can do everything I used to do before just as well, from catching a baseball to the butterfly stroke.
Ideally I'd be lifting more than this, but you get the idea. (Picture courtesy DJOtaku)