Published on March 29, 2016 | by Joseph Quintanilha Photography by Humber Therapy0
The road back from injury
When Ryan Correia cracked his shoulder during a routine tackle, he thought he would be fine. Instead, it nearly ended his football career.
“I had surgery to replace four tears specifically in my shoulder, but I also broke the anchor bone which holds your shoulder in its socket,” said the 21-year-old.
Correia is a defensive lineman for the University of Toronto football team who said his attitude was the biggest part of his recovery.
His surgery required five titanium pins to hold his shoulder back in place and took over two and half hours.
“The injury ultimately affected me in terms of recruiting because teams believed my injury was a liability and I would no longer be worth a scholarship,” said Correia. “However I rehabbed three to four times a week for about eight months. I rehabbed intensely so I would be able to reach the same high level I left at. When I got back for my final high school season, I was named the captain of the G.T.A all-stars and earned my offers back before choosing to play at U of T,” said Correia.
Healthcare professionals say a comeback like this is possible for anyone depending on the injury.
Amy Wright, who is a registered massage therapist at a clinic in Welland, describes the process an athlete would go through with rehabilitation.
“Once the athlete is through the initial phase of figuring out how serious the injury is, they will begin very passive range of motion. The quicker you get the area moving, the less chance you get of additional scar tissue building up,” said Wright.
The next step is working on active range of motion where the person is doing it themselves. The goal is regaining 80 per cent of their range of motion back.
“They then would move into isometric workouts, which is strengthening without movement. You just keep the area in the same position and you just resist the different directions of movement. It is very easy to progress from here because you are only doing these exercises for about 20 seconds increments,” said Wright.
Grace Rivett is a registered nurse who helps patients with rehabilitation. She said patients go through a certain grading system when doing physiotherapy.
“When they come on the unit they’ll be ‘red tag’ meaning they can’t get up without assistance. Then they move to ‘yellow tag’ where they just need supervision, then they move to ‘green tag’ meaning they can do exercises at home on their own,” said Rivett.
Both healthcare professionals said the biggest part of an athlete’s journey back is if they are following the steps and process. As long as they are doing what they are told, they will progress a lot quicker.
Lucas Motyka is a University of Guelph student who suffered a serious knee injury, tearing his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), while playing hockey. Motyka was a double-A hockey player for the Credit Valley Wolves, who was sidelined because of his injury.
The now 20-year-old said the mental aspect is the most important part of your recovery.
“The mental aspect was tough, I had to make sure I wasn’t scared to hurt it again, I had to have a lot of confidence in my body. You have to make sure you are mentally prepared as much as physically,” said Motyka.
“It’s a long process that follows crucial steps, you can’t skip steps or take shortcuts, as long as you’re prepared mentally and follow the procedure, you can make it back.”