Overtraining, not training enough, coming back too soon from a previous injury; there are so many reasons why an elite athlete can get injured in the height of their career.
However one of the key reasons, I believe, athletes get injured is because they are somewhat disconnected from the emotional aspect. In particular they aren’t in touch with the balance of their masculine (yang) and feminine (yin) aspects.
When you are training incessantly, on the road competing and constantly putting yourself into a competitive scenario, you are automatically in the “masculine” aspect. When you are injured, it’s classified as the “feminine” category (as in most cases you are forced to rest.)
To balance a high level of competition, training, travel and the constant raising of cortisol levels, it is essential as an athlete or coach to incorporate alternative medicine and the gentler yin elements to keep the body in balance.
The Alternative Medicine Approach to Sports
Elite sport puts so much stress on the body, emotionally and physically, that in many cases athletes have serious health issues POST sport which will plague them into their old age.
Working on healing within the Body Mind world of psychosomatics; my opinion is that injuries and disease in the body are the soul’s way of getting our attention (to alert us to an emotional imbalance that needs to be dealt with urgency).
Every body has both a female aspect (left side) and a male aspect (right side). If one of these aspects in our self is CONSISTENTLY out of balance, this is when injury will occur. The side and the part of the body which is injured needs to be addressed not just in the physical but on the emotional level (metaphysical) as well.
Metaphysically, disease will manifest in the physical body when the emotional issue is NOT addressed. If strong emotion is consistently repressed it is stored in various parts of the body which it then releases, in an uncontrolled way, once it reaches a breaking point.
A Case Study
Imagine how many NFL players have to consistently push down intense fear when an opposing player is charging across the field to crush them? The energy has to go somewhere. Repressed in the body. Waiting until one day it manifests in another form.
I remember a while ago the story of former West Coast Eagles Captain Ben Cousins, one of Australia’s brightest and most popular AFL superstars and his spectacular fall from grace.
Now this man was the pride and joy of Western Australia and the West Coast Eagles. He ended up getting involved with hard drugs including being cut for a year in 2008 to deal with his issues.
He appeared to work hard to get himself clean, and made a comeback with the Richmond Tigers (albeit at the last minute). Physically, he looked like he was in excellent shape. Mentally he said he was ready. His body appeared strong. Yet in the first round of his comeback he injured his left hamstring. He then continued to attempt to play on over the next two years, however was consistently stopped in his tracks due to injury and was eventually forced to retire.
The damage that is caused to the meridians and the energy centers from drug use is immense, so really, it’s no surprise he couldn’t continue on playing football.
It would be really interesting to look at what was happening for him on a personal level at the time of the hamstring injury, and then again when he injured his left side. Both injuries were located on the creative / feminine aspect. The legs in particular are related to moving forward. So if we look at what may have been going on for him, it may have been something connected to moving forward with females (or this area) in his life – mainly because he had been so much of the masculine aspect previously.
Finding A Balance
The universe always finds a way to restore balance and, sadly, it is often through injury or disease because we have become so trained to push through pain. To hide it and push it down.
It’s time elite athletes and coaches consider alternative medicine approaches to training to improve long term health. Some clubs are doing this by including or trying meditation, yoga and other methods; but the practical application is few and far between. I recall Liverpool Football Club took a shot at meditation for a while to mixed results.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are certain times certain organs should be activated, in accordance to the Chi Cycle. When the body is pushed to do other things than it is supposed to be doing, it results in imbalances and ultimately injuries.
Have you ever wondered why you can’t sleep after you have just done a big work out late at night? It’s because you have just fired everything up when you are supposed to be switching off. Of course it is not always possible in professional sport to say you don’t want to play or train late at night, so it has to be approached in a way that is manageable. But the key to long term health for athletes is to handle these situations with as much awareness as possible to not only get the best performance but to ensure longevity of players and their bodies.
When athletes get the same injury over and over again they still haven’t dealt with the REAL issue behind the injury. “Clearing” the emotional body is ESSENTIAL to preventing injuries and to stopping the recurring injuries from happening.
What’s your opinion on this? Do you think its time athletes started embracing more alternative medicine approaches to injury management, training and recovery? Or do you think they need to hustle harder? Please feel free to share or comment.