For those gymnasts that are injured or are returning from injury, staying off the floor can be a frustrating time. They have to remember to listen to their bodies and let them heal before slowly returning to their sport.
This is a hard task for a gymnast; they have spent so much time and effort learning their skills and building their strength that they don’t want to take time out when they have an injury. Gymnasts are known for “working through” the pain and often don’t seek medical attention, afraid that their doctors will tell them that they have to completely stop the sport for an extended amount of time.
However, this need not be the case. As I teach the gymnasts I work with, you have to understand the difference between working through pain, completely stopping the sport, and performing “active rest.” Depending on what the injury is, there is still a lot you can do to train your body and your mind while letting your injury heal:
Having an injury is not easy for any gymnast. Recovery requires patience and support from friends, family, and your health care team. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for the support you need to keep your spirits up. The majority of gymnasts you see in the Olympics have dealt with an injury at some point in their careers, and they still made it to where they are today. Therefore, you can do it too!
Marla Ranieri PT, DPT is a former National/International League gymnast and collegiate scholarship athlete at Stamford University. She currently assists the USA Medical Team staff for the USA Gymnastics Classics and Championships, and is a clinician for gymnast’s healthcare and injury prevention.