The day has finally come! I’ve overcame my fear and stepped back onto the basketball court 15 months and change after my Achilles injury. I honestly thought I would be playing an year after surgery but recovery took longer than I imagined. Part of it is due to slowing down of my rehab. I lost my consistency to do my exercises I’ve picked up from physical therapy since my insurance deductible reset back in April of 2015. It is really unfortunate. I did have alternative options such as gym membership or just using the machines at the physical therapy center but I elected not to. I did a lot of biking but stopped when the weather got cold. I did manage to go jogging a few times but again nothing consistent. It is much harder in the winter months and daylight savings as it gets really dark by 5pm.
The opportunity came to play basketball. I’ve stayed connected to my basketball pick up games facebook groups where we rent a gym at a neighboring city. It was the holiday and my son’s league took 2 weeks off. I was oddly free for the entire Saturday! I decided it was the time. I haven’t felt any pain when jogging for some time. I just haven’t really tested my Achilles or my leg on more explosive activities. I realized that this was also a mental issue. I had a mental block and some residual fear. Fear if my repaired Achilles would hold up but the bigger fear was how my non-injury Achilles was. Since this injury, I became a bit concerned at the structural integrity of my other Achilles. There is no fact to back this. It’s all in my mind.
A week before open gym, I jogged around the neighborhood twice and ended each run with a sprint. I felt good. Aside from being a bit short of breath, I was fine. I was ready.
Game day came and there were of course no fanfare. I did joke to my friend’s to get the intro video ready! Some of them were really conscious that I haven’t played in a while and expressed some concern asking if I was ready. I made sure to do some warm up and stretch well before starting. I moved quite well which was surprising. I guess playing organized basketball for over 16 years does a number to your body. My mind was triggering my body to do the motions but the question was if my body was able to keep up. After all, that is how injuries happen to people like me. I reminded myself to not explode 100% and not to jump high. There were a few defensive sequence where I forgot and jumped high to block a shot. I was fine. I believe my weight loss highly contributed to this. Surprisingly, I still had wind left in me. It may be because I was moving on the floor strategically, not wasting energy. About the 4th game in, it happened. I went for a bank shot and jumped – I sprained my left foot. It wasn’t the ankle but the upper left side of my left foot. I limped my way to the bench and asked for a sub. The gym became eerily quite as I assured everyone it was just a sprain. I took in some water and called it a day.
A week later, I went back. I recovered quite well and also ran about 2 miles leading up to the open gym. This time, I felt more comfortable on the floor. No cramps. Made some baskets. In the end, played about five 10 min games. Recovery was fine. I can now say I have returned to my old self. If I play another 4 weeks, i can probably regain my explosiveness prior to the injury.