Martial Arts/MMA/Sports Injuries – Story Time! Part 3 of 3By
Continued From Part 2…
Fractured Orbital Bone
This was the scariest injury I’ve ever sustained in my life! After getting cracked in the eye with a roundhouse kick during a NBL –National Blackbelt League—world championship title fight— my vision was messed up to the point that I could no longer see my opponent. Instantly I saw two of him! One eye could see everything fine but my damaged eye was seeing everything at a 45 degree angle. It was really frightening!
My vision didn’t improve at all during the next two weeks but a doctor at Georgetown university hospital made me feel a little better when he said it would all heal up in time without the need for any surgery. A few weeks later I felt a small popping sensation in my face as the nerves from my eye escaped from being caught in the orbital bone fracture. Things slowly got better from that point on and I soon had my normal vision back.
Back Muscle Tear
When your back is messed up it affects everything that you do. My back injury happened early in my career; two months before one of my professional fights. With the fight already booked I decided to push forward, taking anti-inflammatory medication so that I could still train hard. It seemed to work fairly well as my back would no longer spasm like it was before I began taking the pills.
The problem was that I could only box and jog during my preparation for the fight. Grappling, kicking and wrestling would still make my back spasm. Close to fight time, I was easily blasting through 10 rounds of hard boxing sparring and running like a friggin gazelle on the roads by my house but the entire fight ended up being fought on the ground. That created a problem for me because my ground techniques were extremely rusty –since I hadn’t rolled on the ground in 2 months– and all of my conditioning work was of the stand-up fighting type.
I was so damn tired during that fight that at one point during the scrap I was thinking about being at home watching television instead of hitting my opponent. Luckily my technique was strong enough to keep me in good positions throughout most of the fight. If it wasn’t I would have be huge trouble! I still remember my coach signalling me to raise my hands up in the air –in victory– after the bell signalled to end the final round but I couldn’t move my arms no matter how hard I tried. In fact, I almost fell over when they were pulling my gloves off of me in my corner.
The good thing is that I learned a very valuable lesson that night. I would never take a fight unless I was able to do the necessary fight preparation work in all areas: groundwork, takedowns, striking and strength/conditioning. Also, to not mask any future symptoms with anti-inflammatory medication so that I could still train like a madman.
After that fight I took some time off to allow myself to fully heal up naturally. When I returned back to the cage I had some of the best fights of my career.
Strained/Torn Ligaments in the Knee
I’ve been very lucky that after 25+ years of training I’ve had had very little trouble with my knees. So many people that are heavily active in sports are not as lucky and have to deal with knee surgeries and other treatments throughout their athletic careers.
I did however on three occasions hear a disgustingly loud popping sound originate from my knee. The sounds were always followed by a lot of pain that lasted for many weeks. These injuries all happened during my late teens when I had just begun training in the grappling art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I think it was a case of me turning the wrong way to escape a leg lock or times when I forced an attack in the wrong direction that caused my knee injuries. Fortunately, every single time I hurt myself, my knee seemed to heal up fine without the need for surgery or major rehabilitation. I was very lucky!
This painful injury still bugs me 8 years after it first occurred. If I push my finger forcefully into a spot just outside of my right kneecap I can still feel some pain.
I tore my meniscus one day in training by kicking a heavy bag without going through a proper warm-up routine. The very next day I knew I was messed up because I couldn’t bend my heel to my backside and was in a ton of pain. It took three or four weeks of rest before I could train again but even then I would sometimes feel a massive amount of pain while pushing off of the ground with my foot while grappling.
After a visit to the highly reputable sports doctor that I mentioned above, I finally found out what it was: A tear in my meniscus.
Since the tear was slightly off to the side of my leg, my knee wasn’t locking up during training, which meant I didn’t need immediate surgery. Instead, I worked on strengthening my leg muscles by doing squats and other leg exercises which helped minimize the stress placed upon my meniscus during training. The strategy worked very well and the injury never became bad enough that I had to have it surgically fixed. Nowadays, I sometime feel the pain return when I train really hard, throw a ton of kicks or neglect my leg strengthening exercises.
This last injury was the one that ended my career way too early. I’ve had a long story of concussions starting with my very first one that occurred during a hockey game was I was barely a teen. I covered it all extensively in another blog post. –> Click here to read it.
Well, those are all of the injuries I can recall facing throughout my entire sports and martial arts career. I’d love to hear about some of your sports injuries or your experience with the same ones I mentioned above so please comment on this post and share all the juicy details.