Every morning I am reminded of my past as my body cracks when my hands reach to the ceiling letting out a big sigh. 26 years old and 20 of that have been spent training, 15 at a level I often can’t comprehend how I did it. The adage, “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone,” is forever a reminder of the physical condition my body once was at the peak of my athletic career.
With the recent injury of a torn ulnar collateral ligament being the latest addition to the list of setbacks, I want to bring light to a topic I feel many of you can resonate with.
I’ve heard it all, “He’s injury prone. He can’t handle the training. He’s not cut out for this level of physical abuse.” From age 15 I have been in chronic physical pain. In the 8th grade I endured a football injury tearing my lateral meniscus as well as a rare condition called osteochondritis dissecans, known as OCD, a joint disorder in which cracks form in the articular cartilage and the underlying subchrondral bone. In layman’s terms, OCD is a deep bone bruise that literally kills the bone and no longer is blood supplied to the area, resulting in pain, flaking of the bone, swelling, and catching and locking during movement. After a meniscal repair surgery of 5 pins and two screws and a drill hole into my bone marrow to resupply the area with blood, I crutched around for a few months on a high school campus not gimp friendly.
Rushing to participate in wrestling my freshman year I was nowhere to being even at 50%, but, the pressure of needing to be a state champion forced me back on the mat too soon and push through the pain. After 10 matches, two weeks from the state qualifier, I wrestled in a couple duel matches. The matches meant nothing in the big picture and I wasn’t even supposed to compete, but, I did. I went out first match and pinned my opponent, receiving 6 points for the team.
In my second match, I went out and scored two takedowns the first period, then chose the bottom position to start the second. Not being able to properly standup, my bottom move from the whistle was slow, allowing my opponent to make a move. He tried an elementary move from top that wouldn’t work in 100 years on me, forcing me to brace. Attempting to roll, the brace on my arm was too much and pop, pop, pop, my elbow dislocated. I remember looking at my arm, crooked, thinking it was broken. The elbow was subluxated to the point where I had to be under anesthesia in order for the doctors to put it back into place.
Just like that, my season was over.
Fast forward of five months of elbow physical therapy, I went back into the surgical room as during my early return to the mat, I tore my meniscus again and the pins were floating around in my knee. What a freshman year and way to start my high school career.
Without spending hours telling you how I injured myself over the next five years, I’ll just list a few of the major injuries I have had, not including ankle sprains, strains, separated ribs, shoulder injuries, finger jams, and all the other small injuries athletes battle through.
Two years after dislocating my right elbow, I dislocated my left one. During a skiing trip I tore my left meniscus, which I have never gotten repaired to this day. And one year after that, I had a life changing injury resulting in four back surgeries in a nine week time frame, nearly 30 days spent in the hospital, a spinal infection, and countless drugs being pumped into my body to releive the pain.
And of course, the most recent injury upon my attempt at making a comeback after six years, a UCL tear.
When it’s all said and done, I’m beat up. My body has taken the abuse of training and each day I am reminded of such.
Although I feel in my competitive career it’s been one setback injury after another, I also feel my injuries are my life’s greatest blessings. Each time I have been injured, I have comeback stronger, smarter, and more inspired. You don’t know what you got until it’s gone, and every time my health has been in jeopardy, I’ve received infinite clarity. One being how precious good health is, and the other, how precious opportunities are.
This is Part 1 of a 3 part blog.
Wednesday I will write on how precious good health is and Friday I will write on how precious opportunities are.
If you are reading this and have found resonance in my story, join me this week on how injuries have taught me humility, patience, and faith.
My name is Josh Morin and my mission here is solely to be the light to help you find your north star.