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Just like in every kind of sports, setbacks and disappointments are also part of Disc Golf. Only one wrong move in combination with some bad luck, and you may be kicked out for weeks or even months. When you have to slow down a little, you get the opportunity to learn from your own mistakes.
Everyone is hit at some point
To be completely honest, it is truly amazing that I could avoid being injured for so long. In the end of every season that I played without any interruption, I look back and I ask myself: How the hell did I do this? So far, I was really lucky enough to not have suffered any severe injuries.
In the first moment it may sound a little strange and overly thoughtful when I say that I am not 16 anymore. Of course at the age of 23 years I am not too senior in my sport yet, but anyway, from year to year I feel my age more and more. In the past it was absolutely enough for me to warm up for a few minutes before tournaments and workshops, to do some test throws and then to simply start. Today this is not at all enough anymore, and during my recent stay in Finland I had to realize this in a painful way.
Beside the price money that I occasionally receive for top ranks at competitions, I earn part of the money to pay my bills with workshops for Disc Golf players who are interested to learn more. This time I was on the road in Finland with one of my colleagues. There is no other place in the world, where our sport’s progress is as fast as in Finland. Every week two new courts seem to appear out of nowhere in this country, and by now they already have 500 of them. Similarly, the Finnish fans just love Disc Golf. So, you can surely imagine how inspired I was to visit the Finns once again.
My agenda included five weeks with 14 workshops, and everything went well until the 13th workshop – even until the very last throw of it. Most of the people come to these events because I am well known for my long distance throws and for my speed throws. They want to see with their own eyes how I let my disc fly for 160 meters or how my disc reaches a speed of 100 kilometers per hour at the point of measurement...
Anyway, the very last throw of this day failed completely. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention anymore and probably I was also a little tired, and so, I miscalculated my motion for it. When I was throwing the disc, my leg collapsed somehow, I fell and I heard a sound that no sportsman ever wants to hear inside his body.
What about the diagnosis?
At first, everything still seemed to be ok. My knee hurt but I was able to get up again and even to finish the workshop. But to be on the safe side, the next day we decided to drive to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, at this time we were in the sparsely populated north of Finland and there was no adequate equipment for an accurate diagnosis. The doctor just told me that this didn't look too bad and that I should get the injury re-checked after returning to Germany. I was still able to complete my last workshop, although I did it without one single throw. Instead of throwing I offered even more personal coaching and explained more than I demonstrated.
One day after returning to Bremen I went to my regular doctor who immediately sent me to an MRI. I was really scared of the result – what would happen if my meniscus was hit? – and I took a deep, relieved sigh when I got to know that nothing too serious had happened this time. The anterior cruciate ligament had been torn and it showed some small splits, but there was no need for surgery. Instead I now have to give my knees a good break but not stop from moving it completely. Currently, physiotherapy is high on my agenda, but I will not be able to participate at the European Masters in Stockholm at the end of the month.
How do I feel about this?
As long as I can remember, I always try to see my challenges in a realistic way. There are countless numbers of people who would love to change roles with me and who would be only too willing to exchange their problems with mine. A torn, party tugged cruciate ligament – something like this will heal. Of course, now I have to slow down and be careful that things do not get worse. I definitely do not want to miss the World Championship close to Kansas City in August. Still, an injury like this is not the end of the world. On the positive side, this gives me lot of time to spend with my parents and friends. It would be an overreaction to mope at this point.
Ups and downs are a natural part in every sport (and life for that matter). I know this very well. And for as long as I give my very best on the court and don't allow any negative thoughts to influence me, all the downs will go by – just like this one. And it reminded me that I am not 16 anymore and need to treat my body accordingly.
Now I hope everything will go well with the World Championship. And already now I am looking forward to the next tournaments and workshops - especially when I soon will return to Finland.
Take care – I hope you will stay tuned for my next post on Dreampions early August.