What I learnt from being injured

Skiing is a cruel sport one moment you can be blasting down the piste feeling like Ted Ligety and the next you are using your head to break your fall while sliding, spinning, flipping or just generally careering down the slope on everything but your feet. At least if you go that way you have a cool story tell. Just as often you see people have the most innocuous falls only to later find out they managed to tear an ACL.

No matter how it happens being injured is no fun and if you are carrying momentum into an exam you are heavily financially invested in it only adds to the wo.

When it goes wrong

A funny thing happens to those who are injured though, they often come back stronger, better, faster than before with a renewed focus and passion for what they do.

At the end of the 13/14 season I crashed, nothing crazy it hurt but I could push through. I am young, it will just be a niggle and will heal I told myself (it’s just my back). Over the next two months I continued to push in the gym adamant that pushing harder, training with more intent was the way to heal. Oh boy was I wrong.

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It turns out that the crash earlier in the year may have been worse than I realised. I had two torn ligaments in my lumbar spine likely caused by a high impact crash. The lack of support of these ligaments had placed extra stress on my spine and as I refused to ease up and let it recover resulted in two ruptured or herniated discs.

The summer came and went and I started to manage the injury, but got bored sitting still and pushed too hard. I tried skiing that winter causing undue stress and low and behold I did further damage. I learnt my lesson this time the pain was even worse and I was now in resort for an entire season barely able to move.

So what have I actually learnt?

You are probably thinking not much after reading the above.

Yoga is not for old ladies & mobility is king. I have started to make a pretty good recovery and am now more mobile than I have ever been. The only thing that has kept me moving has been yoga and now I am totally hooked. I follow classes at Black Swan Yoga from a coach called Noah, I have never tried anything as hard in my life and the best bit is I am now far more away of my body.


It is better to train smart than hard. I used to train hard often twice a day. I now don’t. The most annoying thing is I am probably now as fit, healthy and strong as ever yet spend far less time in the gym. I guess Pareto was right when he said 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.

Learning something new keeps you excited. Learning a new skill has kept me engaged and fuelled the fire. I am also more excited about skiing than ever, I think this is because when I do get back onto snow there will be an element of learning again finding that limit and that is exciting.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I ski every year for nearly 50% of the year, I had started to take it for granted, moan when the snow was anything but perfect and forget what I loved about the sport. I am now more excited about skiing than ever, I think this is because when I do get back onto snow there will be an element of learning again finding that limit and that is exciting.


I think this is why people come back stronger.

While injured people learn a lot about themselves, their bodies and have a renewed energy and excitement for what they do. I am not suggesting that you all go out and get injured if you are lacking motivation to get your BASI 4 done.

I am suggesting though that if you are fed up of skiing all day and getting too focused on BASI exams to enjoy it then why not try learning to Telemark. Or if you are fed up of spending all day battling the bumps why not just do 5 or 6 good bumps run with high energy and intent before going for a blast around.

I have also learnt if you can not move properly you do not stand a chance. So make sure you spend enough time recovering and not all your time training.