IT IS hard work being injured.
Fans might think we sit around for a few weeks and then go straight back into the team when declared fit, but unfortunately, it’s nothing like that.
As I am on the casualty list at the moment, I thought this week I’d give you an insight into what happens after you get hurt on the rugby field.
Usually you are assessed the next day.
If it’s a Friday-night game you will probably see the doctor or physio on Saturday, after the injury has had 12 hours or so to settle down.
If there’s a suspected break or bone damage you’ll go straight for an x-ray.
If it is ligaments or anything within the joint you have an MRI scan.
We are lucky because there are several hospitals around Leeds we can use at short notice.
When you go for a scan you sit in an MRI machine for 45 minutes and that provides a detailed picture of what’s going on inside the damaged joint.
They have specialist people there whose job is to look at scans.
They have a fine eye and they can usually assess accurately what the damage is.
They then report back to the doctor. He will report his findings and then you sit down with the doctor and come up with a recovery plan.
Doctors and physios are usually pretty reluctant to give a timescale, but, as a player, you just want to know one thing – when you will be able to get out on the field again.
It is a case of small milestones. I was in a ‘moon boot’ after I injured my ankle at Widnes three weeks ago.
The first milestone was to get out of the boot. That came off last week.
And the next milestone is when I can run again.
All the boys will tell you the medical care we get at Leeds is the best in the business and it is very science-based.
A lot of work is done on anti-gravity treadmills, so you can walk or run without putting stress on your joints.
Not being able to run is hard, but there are various alternatives in the gym, like rope work or rowers.
At the moment I can’t do much leg work, so I am concentrating on my upper body and getting stronger.
I am trying to get some movement back into my ankle, which was pretty stiff after a couple of weeks in the boot and I am also working on my glutes, hamstrings, quads and calfs.
You have to keep your body in good shape when you can’t run.
Obviously you can’t risk making an injury worse, but you have to maintain fitness, so it is a case of striking a balance.
The worst thing about being injured is not being able to join in with the rest of the lads.
It can be a lonely time, so having so many boys out injured at the moment does have a bit of a silver lining.
There’s seven of us doing rehab’ and Tom Briscoe, Danny Mags and I are all at about the same stage, so we can bounce off each other and really push each other.
Obviously, you don’t want anybody to be sidelined, but it is better having people to work with.
The big thing about being injured is staying positive. You have to embrace it and make sure you get something out of it.
It is frustrating, because all you want to do is play and it is even tougher when the team isn’t winning.
It’s hard to watch when you can’t get out there and help your mates.
But I played every game last year, so, hopefully, I can use this time to get myself a bit stronger and freshen myself up.
I haven’t set a target for getting back on the field, but if things keep going well I’m hoping I won’t be out for much longer, and I can come back raring to go for the middle and back end of the year.