Understand Injuries With One Simple Question: Is There Pain?
“Is There Pain?” is a “Yes” or “No” question.
Just like you, I love to hear what is going on with the NHL goaltenders. Anytime there is an injury it immediately gets my attention because I believe my number one responsibility is keeping you healthy.
You can’t win any games from the stands can you?
So when I read this line from the article about Roberto Luongo’s recovery from hip surgery, I immediately felt compelled to write this (literally, I just read it two minutes ago) …
The groin twinges would go away, though, so Luongo seemed to think nothing of it, and according to [Florida Panthers goalie coach] Tallas, the team didn’t feel there was an injury that would have prevented him from playing or risked the veteran in any way.
I see this all the time in the gym or when working at training camps.
A goalie will wince or have trouble getting into the right position and I will ask him or her “does that hurt?” and they answer “No,” followed by a three-minute dialogue on how it does hurt, but if they do this stretch and spend 47-minutes warming up and spin around three times counter clockwise first it feels totally fine. And it feels fine when they are sleeping.
So that’s a “Yes” then.
I learned from my mentors, Mike Boyle, years ago that if you have to add any sort of qualifier to your “No” then it is a “Yes.” Understand?
Now, sometimes it is okay to play with pain.
Maybe you took a puck off your blocker finger and it hurts but you can tolerate it. You can probably go with that. It is not really going to change your mechanics and it probably won’t make the injury worse, it will just hurt. I’m not talking about a broken finger (although with a doctor’s clearance you may be able to do that too), but an injury that you are not going to make worse by continuing.
Things also changes when you are a pro.
If every pro goalie who had a pinch or tweak in their groin sat out or went straight for surgery, Rob Tallas would be suiting up for even more games. Pros have to work with their team to walk the line between what is “hurt” and what is “harm.” They have a staff of pros that help guide that decision.
You (most of you) are not a pro.
So if the answer to the question “does it hurt” is either “Yes” or a “Yes” disguised as a “No,” then you should get it checked out by a good sport physiotherapist who can assess the joint, see what is going on in the joints above and below the source of pain (this is usually where you find the culprit) and help you determine the best strategy to remedy the mechanism causing the discomfort.
They will also be able to advise you on whether you are safe to continue playing through the treatment or whether doing so puts you at risk for more damage.
No one likes to be injured.
One of the big differences I see between the amateur and pro players I train is how amateur players try to hide the fact that they have pain or ignore the pain as though burying their head in the sand will make it go away or to show how tough they are.
Pros are proactive, they look after little issues before they have a chance to become injuries. They also stick with the remedy. Once the injury feels better, they don’t stop doing the stretches or exercises that made it feel better. These become a part of their daily maintenance routine.
Stay healthy. Stay on the ice.
Hockey strength and conditioning coach Maria Mountain, MSc specializes in off-ice training for hockey goalies. As the founder of www.GoalieTrainingPro.com and the owner of Revolution Sport Conditioning in London, Ontario, Maria has trained Olympic Gold medalists, a Stanley Cup Champ and athletes from MLB, NHL, AHL, CHL, CIS and more.
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