The B-tech sport

Whilst with the swimming things go just steadily from training to training session and whilst the shoulder is kind of debilitating, and whilst the legs still work and Madison has to do two sports through the B-tech exam, it stands to reason that Madison uses those body parts that still work.

The legs are ideal for football and Madison has been selected for the school’s girls football team. What a great surprise.

Over the years Madison cut back on all other activities to concentrate on swimming but now another activity has opened up.

Obviously coaches want swimmers to just swim and spend every free minute either at the pool or in land-training or to go gym session to do with the swimming development but the education system has other ideas.

I suppose, when I read that younger people should do as many varied things as possible, the reality is, that all sports want their athletes to concentrate on a particular sport as soon as because an athlete’s peak comes usually about 20 or even younger. The international athletes field is hugely competitive and the most developed nations do their utmost to produce the fastest, strongest, best in whatever discipline possible.

It takes a lot of resilience to stay in any sport and I am questioning that it is possible for any average person to make it in any sport without specialist medical support, which usually costs a lot of money and is not available on the state, at least not in the western world.

Madison currently does get support with her shoulder and sticks to the training but also now has to do some football for a while, whilst the sport b-tech program is being dealt with.

I think that any sport is exercise and does good. And if you look how few athletes actually make it to the very top out of all that are in the clubs and on the competition scene, it just makes you wonder whether you are the one that will be it.

In the end, every sporting person counts towards supporting the ones that make it big because the more competitions we take part in, the more training sessions we do, the more we help each other and somebody somewhere is going to be the top.

 

Not much going on right now

At present not much is being posted because there is a break in competing. So for the many followers of this blog, it will pick up again at a later date. At the moment is mainly leg-training, spinning on bicycles and land work.

Missing out on all the best competitions at the moment and can’t wait to get stuck in again. Can help with competitions though, never losing interest in the sport.

The Cambridge Common

Whilst Madison had to miss out on the Cambridge Grand Prix, I made a parental contribution to the racing action going on in Cambridge over the weekend by acting as official.

Swimming competitions, which are licensed at a certain level, need a set number of qualified officials to meet the criteria.

The level of a nationalmeet is level 1 and Cambridge Grand Prix was licensed as level 2.

cambridge cows
Cows in Cambridge living in a public park

I stayed the night in a local bed and breakfast and whilst I walked from my hotel to the pool in the morning, walked through a park and could not believe my eyes seeing a herd of cows grazing on the Common.

It is almost unthinkable for a Londoner that cows should live so freely in a public park, that is used by joggers, cyclist and walkers as a through route in the city. Apparently the animals are docile and keep the grass short, no clue who picks up their cow pads, as I didn’t see any, apart from the residue on the cow I pictured.

An ingenious system of fencing, which doesn’t look particularly high or dense, keeps the cows within the common.

cambridge pool
Parkside Pools, Gonville Place, Cambridge, CB1 1LY

When I arrived at the pool on the second day of my stay, I looked forward to helping swimmers reach their dream of making qualifying times for the National Short Course championships.

The pool is nice and airy, fully surrounded by windows, it is light and appears spacey. The air quality in the pool area is also pretty good, so that working around the pool for a couple of days doesn’t make one feel too tired.

Don’t get demoralised

madison-800-trio
Aoife, Kaia and Madison prior to an 800 Freestyle race at Barking and Dagenham, photo taken by Alexander McDonald (now coach at Chelsea & Westminster)

Any prolonged injury can easily lead to feeling demoralised.

  • Can’t take part in all the training
  • practise hurts
  • Can’t take part in competitions
  • people talk to you like you are no longer important

Being demoralised can have important consequences, which produce a creeping withdrawal from the sport.

That can have results like:

  • Making excuses why you can’t take part in gym sessions
  • Making excuses when late for school
  • Looking to break up sessions early

What every injured athlete needs are people who keep on giving encouragement. Saying things like

  • Keep on trying
  • Go to the session
  • Stay the whole session

Not being able to take part in competitions and bring home the medals is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a swimmer.

Madison always relished her medals and being shown on social media and in the club pages of Facebook or Twitter. Having photos taken with friends during competitions, photos that express the team spirit and excitement before or after a swim.

It also all depends how determined you are and it helps to research a problem and listen to a sympathetic coach(es) who give exercises that bridge the gap between the injury appearing and treatment being offered.

Having looked at various publications about the issue, I think that Madison probably needs an operation to resolve the problems.

Embracing the HAC

Don’t ever give up hope, some injuries take longer to heal than others and Swimmer’s shoulder can take as long as a normal pregnancy to heal, around 9 months.

It is hard not to take part in competitions and watch others rake in the medals whilst yourself is just kicking around in the pool. Yet, after 8 years of intense swimming there is little point in giving up the sport for an injury that is healable.

This just shows we are human beings with bodies that can break and need time to heal.

Our club and coach is fantastic in allowing swimmers to overcome injuries. It would be quite terrible if swimmers were discarded on the basis of having an injury. The key point is to keep training with the remaining parts of the body that allow keeping the core fitness at the highest possible peek whilst looking for solutions.

Ashley Twichell, a swimmer for Duke University wanted to get a place on the 2016 Olympic Team and gotten a shoulder injury. Read the story here how she overcame the problems.

Petria Thomas, Australia had to have several shoulder surgeries to win three golds at the Athens Olympics. Read that story here.

British diver Dan Goodfellow overcame nerve damage in his shoulder to win Bronze for Britain. Read the story here.

It really is not worth throwing years of training into the bin over a condition that is treatable and just needs a little time to diagnose and treat.

Keep on training with a coach that is knowledgeable on the condition.

There are great articles about this on the internet. The causes can vary, e.g.

  • nerve damage
  • torn tendon
  • scar tissue

There can be various causes and it is always worth looking into it properly rather than ignoring the pain and making it worst without proper treatment. We don’t know yet and do not want to attempt any treatments without knowing the exact cause. We’ve even had a suggeston that her pain could be in the mind!

Madison is still waiting for an MRI scan now and an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor. But in the meantime its training with the legs.

The kick is now tremendous. In effect it all depends if a swimmer really loves the sport, if they do then an injury will not stop them from pursuing the dream.

 

Pausing performance

Which one of us has a private physician that would stand by and deliver instant reliable diagnosis? Hm, I do not know anybody like that.

NHS waiting lists are long and if there is a problem that needs further investigation then any performance athlete either can rely on a team doctor or line up in the queue.

Performance swimming is a hard sport, requires constant high-velocity training because the world record times are extremely fast, the Olympic qualifying times are equally fast and everything else in between is not much slower.

It is impossible to stay in performance swimming without constant training.

As Madison now has this Swimmer’s shoulder problem performance training is severely affected. We need to step down from the training and turn into the slower lane until the doctors are finally ready to delivery a reliable diagnoses and recommend the correct physio to mend the problem.

220px-Shoulder_joint.svgThe shoulder is a big place with many muscles and tendons, one simply cannot assume what is the best exercise to do.

Whatever the problem is, it is extremely important to stay in shape and do exercises that do not overstretch the affected part.

It is important to stay in training and with our club we are very lucky to have a flexible club structure that can adjust training groups and routines to fit any particular need.

Yet it seems that medical assistance is not ready to deal with sport in general. I think NHS practises are very well organised to deal with winter flu, excess weight, check ups and general appointments but when it comes to sport related problems there is no network of doctors available that can be called upon demand by sportsters.

Many people have private medical insurance but I doubt that even those can deliver on the spot treatments.

What we really need are sports clinics because the healthy and active life-style is becoming generally more popular. That would be the way to go for a modern NHS.

 

The long pause of hope

Whilst there was good news about the non existing Asthma, the shoulder is still a very big problem. The shoulder always hurts and training with the shoulder, e.g. swimming is not possible.

One cannot just assume that those problems with sort themselves out given time. Myself, I once suffered from Tendonitis and it went on and on for years without bettering itself.

Now Madison has been referred to a Orthepaedics doctor and an MRI scan. Good as well. Sometimes one just has to pursue getting to talk to the right doctor that actually can pinpoint the best solution. If one doctor cannot help, get second opinions, keep on trying.

2 steps forward 1 MRI scan

I am just livid, another mess with booked competitions and not being able to go. Counting the cost of all the lost competitions, it staggers up into hundreds of pounds.

The latest victim is going to be Cambridge Grand Prix, booked the races, booked the hotel and now the shoulder plays up.

Waiting for an MRI scan. Apparently the doctor could not even see into my shoulder with the normal scan last time because of all the inflammation.

But just as I had a bad shoulder the NHS immunisation service decided to put an injection into the arm near my bad shoulder and I am doubly in pain.

Just starting to think if Performance swimming is the right thing but on the other hand, other squads just have such a steep drop in training, that it seems like two different worlds between performance swimming and other swimming.

There is always kicking and spinning as an alternative to normal training.

It’s been quite beneficial to train with either only arms or only legs. When I had the broken leg I used only arms, making my shoulders stronger and now with the inflamed shoulder, doing mostly kicking will improve the legs.

Maybe I am meant to train in parts and in the end it will all come together as one fit swimmer.

living with this injury

Obviously the shoulder injury will get better, one day, when that will be is uncertain and equally certain, as a determined young sports person one doesn’t want to drop out of the performance pathway.

Starting with the Performance Youth Squad this month with this injured shoulder. Not the best of starts, but nobody is perfect at all times.

Not certain whether people show more sympathy for cars breaking down rather than injured young athletes.

The Cambridge Grand Prix is not far away and it is cheering me up that it is in an iconic location. Who hasn’t heard of Cambridge, the world-famous university?

Will have to drop out of the 400 free. Cannot do long distance free style at the moment. Backstroke is easier. Must have injured some part of my shoulder muscle that is used by freestyle mainly.

The shoulder injury

On the 30 June Madison took part in the 3km open water London Regional champs, swimming the 3km, then went straight on to the Hackney Lido for another 2km charity swim, on 14. July, at the Barking & Dagenham swimming meet, Madison’s shoulder popped during the 400 IM race.

Since then the shoulder has not gotten much better. Went to the GP, who kind of said that the NHS is not good for sporting injuries.

Eventually on 29. August, she got a shoulder scan at the hospital. The doctor said she could not see anything because there is a lot of inflammation. The doctor wants to do an MRI scan. Now we need to get back to the GP and wait for another appointment on the 18. September to get seen again.

In the meantime the inflammation in Madison’s shoulder is raging untreated. She takes part in training and does mostly kicking and leg exercise.

I am just wondering how a young person is supposed to get settled into any sport if it is so hard to get any treatment for sporting injuries?

All we ever read about is that the NHS can’t cope with treatment of degenerative illnesses but what about the fitness problems?

We are constantly told to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle but if we get any injury with this we cannot get the treatment fast.

For teeth braces now for example here in East London there is a 1 year waiting list to get even seen from the date of referral.

GLL funding offers sporting injury treatment but only very few athletes can get it, I did not apply for it this year, as we hardly used it last year when we had it. Otherwise we get offered treatment against payment. So how many of us can actually afford that?