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Injured Reserve

by Kirk Layfield, PhD EMT-P

Blake Baggett has seen his fair share of injuries. His most recent (a foot injury suffered in December) has healed ahead of schedule and Blake will line up this Saturday night in Dallas.

The old saying in motocross “It is not a matter of if, but when” you will get hurt and unfortunately how bad and what is required to recover from the injury is all part of our beloved sport. This topic is brought to you by personal experience as I had my turn back in October at Motocross of Marion County during the Gold Cup practice day. At this time I am well on my way to a full recovery after a missed shift made for a long day/night in the ER with a broken left Clavicle, turn rotator cuff in my right shoulder, several broken ribs and torn cartilage on my left side, bruised kidney, liver and a lot of other aches and pains from head to toe. With all that said, let’s take a look at what I am doing and what you should be doing to help speed up the healing and recovery process. If you were not aware, my company Innovation Training Systems has helped hundreds of athletes through the injury recovery process by working with their doctors and therapist to coordinate a rehab program and is just one of the many benefits to working with ITS.

The injury process can be a little intimidating for those without much experience dealing with doctors and therapist. The Orthopedic doctors can tend to be a little more conservative unless you know the right questions to ask and speak to them on level they understand. It is also essential that they feel confident in your trainer’s professional education level in coordinating the rehab efforts so that you are in the driver’s seat but you make them feel as if they are making the decisions.

My injury happened on Saturday and Monday I was back in the gym. I could barely breath and it was very difficult to move but I can assure you it probably cut 2 weeks off my recovery time in the end.

Let’s start from the day the injury takes place. Track personnel and Emergency Medical Services at the track stabilize your injury and send you home to follow up with your Orthopedic doctor or transport you to the hospital by ambulance or personal vehicle for x-rays and treatment as required per the injury. If you have the ability and it is safe to go by personal vehicle, do so as it will save a tremendous amount of money. However, as a Firefighter/Paramedic and Exercise Physiologist with over 25-years experience (not to mention 40-years of motocross experience), I would not allow just anyone to make this decision and would consult someone with the proper credentials. Once the dust settles and you are one-on-one with your Orthopedic doctor (every motocross rider should have one because you are going to need it sooner or later) it is now time to get down to business of healing and this takes place on day one. In speaking with the Physician it is important that he understands the sport of motocross, scheduled events and your expectations for recovery. Get details on your injury, the doctors expected recovery time, rehab suggestions and things you can and cannot do in the gym on your own. While doctors are conservative on their approach to accelerating the rehab process, an educated experienced professional by your side will be your advocate and help bridge this gap.

In most cases you will take a few days to rest and catch your breath after the injury. Depending on your injury you will want to get back in the gym right away to get your body moving. My injury happened on Saturday and Monday I was back in the gym. I could barely breath and it was very difficult to move but I can assure you it probably cut 2 weeks off my recovery time in the end. The first sessions back in the gym may only be to walk on the treadmill, stationary bike, light stretching or something along those lines. This will be the second time in the process when you need professional help to coordinate your plan. The plan in general centers on doing what you can do without aggravating the injury. The increased blood flow and circulation will speed up the healing process by providing the injury site with more oxygenated blood. In addition to getting your body moving, this is the time to really make sure you tighten up on your nutrition (This article talks about the link between recovery and good nutrition). Much like you’re in-season training and nutrition plan, what you eat and drink can and will make a difference in the recovery process. To ensure that the healing process is given every advantage available to accelerate out of the gate, eat adequate amounts of protein for your body weight, lots of fruits and vegetables, generous amounts of water and limit the sweets as sugar tends to disturb and interfere with the muscle building and repair phase of the healing process.

In conclusion, be willing to take the time needed to heal properly but be aggressive if you have an important scheduled event that is a realistic expectation. Other modalities that you may want to consider in your recovery include massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic just to name a few. Many riders spend tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars on their race program. Don’t be cheap. Hire someone with the proper credentials to help with your training and rehab program. I have said many times, a weekend certification course does not make someone an expert on fitness, nutrition or rehab. Education and experience will give you the results you’re looking for.

That’s it for this topic. If I can be of assistance with your training, nutrition or injury recovery program please let me know. Stay tuned to Racer X Virtual Trainer as I will be presenting some features on therapeutic modalities that can assist in the recovery process next. Feel free to email me with your questions or comments and please visit our website for all your fitness and nutrition needs.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    James Ross May 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Hey. My name is James and I'm 22 yrs old. On 26 of April I broke my left clavicle (on a bike), bad enough that they decided to operate. I went under the knife on the 20th. The doctors were bit fuzzy on recovery time. Any specific advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I am a keen rider of a 250 and am..was..starting my first season of motorcross. I've been riding a long time but I'm very keen on pushing myself to the next level. Not just on the track, I regularly go to the gym and am savvy with a spanner. My body I have very little understanding of though so this is my reason for messaging you.
    P.S your article is very good help.

  2. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer May 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    It concerns me that your doctors would not have a definite timeline for recovery. Every injury is unique and only the doctor can tell you for sure how long you will be out.

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