Poll: What’s the Worst Thing About Being Injured?

adventure journal poll injured 660Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones, an active outdoor athlete who’s never suffered time off the hill, out of the saddle, or away from the trail because of injury. If so, good on ya…but brace yourself cause it’s probably coming.

Getting hurt is part of adventure. Skiing, climbing, mountain biking, trail running — there’s risk inherent in every one of these pursuits. If the fickle face of fortune smiles on you, your mishaps will only be minor, but they’re coming. I’ve tweaked my ankles so many times I can’t count, I have scars from at least four sports, and the photo above is a portrait of my right knee, which has yet to fully recover from that little incident.

Like most people, I try to make the best of a bad situation and use time away from sport to catch up on work, reading, guitar practice, or unwatched episodes of Breaking Bad or Homeland. But no matter how you spin it, getting hurt sucks. In which ways, we’re asking, does it suck the most?


smith optics iosThis week, one poll participant will receive a Smith Optics I/OS goggles. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) — all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, February 3, at midnight PST.

Congrats to Chris Butcher, winner of the goggles!

Photo by Steve Casimiro

{ 98 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Craig Rowe

    Having recently come back after an ACL/PCL/meniscus injury, I say the rehab. It’s not necessarily the rehab itself, but the months-long, daily reminder that “You’re just not ready yet … ” The day I was told to test a jog around the track, I was elated to near tears.

  • Cole

    Currently recovering from tearing my ACL/MCL and having to just sit around and miss out on the entire snow season is by far the worst part.

  • Pete

    Trying to drink a beer/cocktail while hobbling around on crutches is nearly impossible. Had to duck tape a cup holder to my crutches so I could mingle at parties.

  • Tina

    Waiting around knowing you are are going to have to build up all the cardio later, and listening to friends talk about a powder day…

  • Mtnlee

    Losing your identity. Climbing is such a big part of my life, it IS my life. So when I can’t do it (often) I have to realize there are other things out there.

  • Mike

    I had my shoulder rebuilt in December 2011. Missed the whole ski season, but regained a solid shoulder. By the time I was free and clear to start exercising again [6 months later], I felt like I had been sitting on a couch for ten years while chain smoking. The worst thing about being injured [IMO], is the rehabilitation and basically having to rebuild all the fitness and strength lost while convalescing. Mine was a mild case, the people who break major bones or shatter mission critical joints [or worse - brain, neck, back] may have a long, long road to recovery. Be safe out there.

  • Hayduke

    Classic brutal knee injury skiing years ago. I still ski hard, ride, hike, climb, boat etc. and the knee is fine, but then I’ll be doing some random thing at home (like re-potting a jade plant, say), stand up the wrong way and POP! Can’t walk on it for three days. That’s the worst part. Does this happen to anyone else?

  • CR

    Rehab. Or how my injuries are always the result of something really dumb, like being too comfortable, over confident, messing around, or 6 inches off the ground.

  • Kyle

    steve, these polls you make that one can choose multiple items always look the same, the top has the most and each goes down from there..

    • steve casimiro Post author

      Kyle, I’m not quite sure of your point, but when you click on results, it sorts the answers by popularity, from most to least.

  • Murph

    Missing good days, losing fitness, rehab
    It’s four months after rotator cuff surgery, and I’m just about ready to put the skis back on again, though I’ll ski like a wimp – for two reasons, really. First, because I’m in awful shape, and second, because I really don’t want to trash the thing again.
    Rehab does suck. Luckily, I found a good place that very nice people working there, and some very attractive women.

    Steve: That looks awful. Gotta be a story behind it. I’m guessing skiing, maybe you hit something.

  • Robert

    Not being able to drive the rental car from the hill and having your 9 year old son wheel you through SLC after fracturing your tibial plateau….

  • Mike

    I’m fond of my scars, and pain come with the territory, but getting layed up? Man! no dignity. Vulnerability and atrophy plays with your head far more than pain.
    The upshot is there’s no reason not to enjoy a morning cocktail.

  • maxhelm

    I am recovering from a broken femur. I was initially going to be bummed on not being able to skateboard, but the snow cancels that out anyways. Now I’m just bummed that a simple stupid mistake has all but destroyed the momentum I worked so hard to build this last year.

  • Chris

    My friend Justin is faced with this right now, having broken his left wrist, left leg, left foot, and a rib to add insult to injury. I was face with something similar 10 years ago. The worst thing is the inability to do anything but sink into the couch, and loosing touch with everyone who’s relationship with you revolved around doing the things you can’t do.

  • Brian

    The recovery time really sucks. It is taking my shoulder way too long to get back to normal. In the Braveheart movie some of those Highlanders would get the crap kicked out of them, and then a day or two later they were back in action. My body should be more like that. After all, a few of my ancestors were from Scotland.

  • Trk-e

    That tibial plateau fracture illustrating the poll means a leg which will probably never work quite right. With some of these high-energy fractures into joints, you’re going to have arthritis and you’re never going to enjoy high-impact sports.

  • Kat

    Injuries that are just enough to prevent you from doing what you want, but you feel like a wuss because it doesn’t seem that bad. Like having a broken finger, but not being able to climb for at least four weeks.

  • Dan

    Add: living with chronic pain and decreased mobility for life. My left should is trashed. Ruined it from surfing too much, but I wouldn’t take back all those good times, I’ve had more than my fair share of great waves. Its the long term effects of injury that bother me, I’m gonna keep having fun till i die, no matter the pain, just gotta keep going!! Just waiting for the Scientists to develop that magic injection that will re-grow my shoulder using my DNA; well, my whole body for that matter!! Can’t wait! 21 here I come again! (Well, in 20 years from now, plenty time to save up money for the miracle youth drug lol…)

  • Chris

    Time off from my sports can be good, as it’s a chance to catch up on other things, however time off due to injury means sitting around doing nothing … except getting fat.

  • Jill

    Every time I get hurt (although so far my injuries have been relatively minor…knock on wood), it definitely shakes my confidence my bit and I know I’m due for a nasty injury at some point because I’ve been too lucky. I’m Canadian, but if I was American I think the prospect of dealing with expensive healthy care would be pretty close to the top of my list :(

  • caleb

    it’s all about the fear that comes afterwards, either of reinjury or of failure to perform in a make or break situation

  • mike mcdonald

    Worse than all the glory you thought you’d reap is being debilitated later in life and losing your mobility from 65 to whenever… take care of what you have now, if you’re smart.

  • Chris Hughes

    My last major injury was a busted collarbone and the worst thing was working out on the bike trainer in the garage while I watched riders go by on the road on a beautiful spring day.

  • Adrienne

    My friend just broke two bones in his leg skiing… worst part for me was finding him and seeing him in so much pain. Now it’s that he’s missing days on the hill with us. I feel for him, man.

  • Scott Brady

    The worst part of getting hurt is the realization you are not invincible. I had my first major injury in 40 years of adventuring and it was a shock to the psyche. You start to second guess things and act a little more responsible – bummer!

  • bumbo

    When I have been hurt it’s the lost imaging of upcoming plans and trips that’s worst. Not just that I can’t do it, but the imagining part gets lost, too.

    So sitting on the couch thinking about tomorrow I think, wow, I’ll go skiing/biking/climbing/boating. May not go at all. Probably have to work/clean/babysit/make love to my beautiful wife but the imagining I could go, oh that is what my life is all about.

    Now. Same couch, but cast on my leg up to my hip. Bummer is the not just that I can’t do those things, the cast prevents me from dreaming of doing them.

    Don’t see that on the list.

  • cm

    Knowing how quickly my muscles are atrophying while I sit and heal. And once I get back out there, I’m afraid to give it 100% out of fear of reinjury.
    And let’s not forget how pissed the boss gets when you tell them have another MRI/cortisone injection/physical therapy appointment.

  • Skyfallsbrightly

    I was actually foolish enough to measure the circumference of my thigh after procuring a 5 inch spiral fracture of my fibula. Not a good idea as nearly a month on the affected leg is already 3 centimeters atrophied. I can only imagine what subtract ions are occurring to my encased calf. Oh, forget it! Time to suck it up and work hard after I’m given the green light to get back at it!

  • Paul

    Coming to the painful realization that skiing, for me, is the only thing I do that keeps all the work from overloading me.

  • Dave

    Sucks, but great shot Steve! My x-ray looks almost identical.
    It may take time and a f*ckload of effort, but we can always get back to “enjoying high-impact sports”!!

  • Christopher

    It’s devastating to suffered from severe injuries, and worst, things will never be the same as it was before. Although it’s tough, coping up with life and exploring the positive aspects of it will somehow lessen the burden.

  • Abigail

    I finally realized I had to make major life changes after the third time I wrecked my shoulder surfing. I sat on the couch in a pain killer (and other substance)- induced haze for a couple of weeks after my surgery, and then sobered up. I obsessed about my PT, bugged my surgeon endlessly with requests about when I could do which activities, and focused on the future. The worst part of the experience was definitely the sense of my own fragility and the frustration with how slowly I healed; the best was the sense of clarity I got and the fact that the hard work I put into the healing and strengthening has paid off over a year later. I also agree wholeheartedly with the commenter who said he lost the ability to dream about adventures because he knew he couldn’t play tomorrow or next week. That loss of “what if” sucks.

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