Injuries. Ugh. So annoying! I hurt myself just thinking about writing about hurting myself. As all 8 of you have been reading, I’m fairly active. What you don’t realize is that half the time I’m nursing some sort of injury due to stupidity, clumsiness or just being old. I guess people say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because my father who played college basketball was nicknamed Ace, as in “Ace Bandage”.
In the past 5 years I’ve damaged so may parts of my body its comical. I over compensate in order to prevent future injuries. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always prove to be successful. Let’s break it down, shall we.
The first time I tried BJJ, not only did I suck and have no idea what I was doing, I contracted a staph infection. Don’t know what that is? Google it! (Or don’t… it’s gross) It was my fault though. Generally speaking you need to shower very soon after competing in combat sports. Heat and moisture are breeding grounds for bacteria. Stupid me went to a friend’s house to watch UFC afterwards and didn’t wash up. Bad idea. Since then I purchased a ton of products to help prevent any sort of skin infection from ever occurring again.
YOUR EPIDERMIS IS SHOWING!
1. Under Armour – I prefer a long-sleeve compression shirt to wear under my Gi. Not only does it keep you cool and dry, it helps prevent chaffing and skin on skin contact. But any compression shirt / rash guard will do.
2. Shock Doctor- Same idea as the compression shirt.
Yes, I admit it. When I wear the shirt and the pants together (before) I put my Gi on, I look like either a Cat Burglar or Mike Myers from SNL. Pretty ridiculous, but if it helps prevent any further skin infections, I’m game.
3. Defense Soap – To expand on my paranoia, I bought this product when I first heard about it on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. This all-natural, antibacterial soap cleans and disinfects after rolling around with a potentially smelly dude. Joe Rogan is a BJJ player, aside from being a comedian and commenter for UFC. Mixing comedy and fighting? My kind of entertainment!
4. Neosporin – I tend to get scratched a bit, so this is always in my gym bag ready to be applied if I’m cut.
5. Lotrimin. Never used it. They say to use it if you contract Ringworm. Because I’m afraid of everything, I bought it anyway. I hope the package stays unopened forever.
6. Vaseline- I usually use this on my face and around my neck. The Gi is pretty rough on your skin, and this helps alleviate friction so my face and neck doesn’t get scratched up.
HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES!
(more like ears, teeth, knees, toes, and black eyes)
7. Head Gear – Get some, unless you wear your cauliflower ears like a badge of honor, which many professional fighters do. I on the other hand prefer to have my wife still love me, so I protect my ears from being permanently damaged. I’ve never actually experienced cauliflower ear, but I have been tender after class, especially when going to sleep and resting my head on the pillow. I woke up wondering why my ears hurt so much. That’s because they looked like this.
OMG!!! Just kidding! I found that in Google Images. My ears were just a bit red. Since then I went and purchased Cliff Keen Head Gear. They are very comfortable and I don’t even notice them on my head when I roll except when the strap chokes me out before my opponent does. Yikes.
8. Knee Braces – BJJ tends to put in you horribly uncomfortable positions at times. Flexibility is very important in order to attempt to control your injuries. Unfortunately, I’ve had weak knees for most of my life. I always keep my knee braces with me, which helps stabilize my knee caps and keep them from moving laterally. The last thing I need is a torn ACL or MCL. I prefer Shock Doctor’s brand.
9. Mouth Guard – I hate mouth guards! They are essential in protecting your teeth, but until recently my only experience with them were the cheap boil and bite kinds, which is exactly what it sounds like. You boil the piece until it becomes soft, and then you immediately bite down on it to “mold” it to your mouth. It is horrible, very gag inducing, and not comfortable. I ended up doing some research and found a great company called Fight Dentist out in Las Vegas that creates custom fitting mouth guards. They send you a mold that you have to put into your mouth for a few minutes until it forms to your teeth. Then you send that mold back to the company. A few weeks later, they send you your custom mouth guard.
It fits perfectly! No gagging! And when I say no gagging, I only mean when I wear the finished product. Making the mold was certainly a traumatic experience. Lets just say that I was hovering over my kitchen sink dry heaving, tearing up, semi-puking the whole time. My wife was yelling at me to stop while simultaneously crying hysterically because she was laughing so hard due to the idiocy of the scene. She couldn’t understand why I would continue to hold the mold in my mouth while throwing up in the kitchen, but trust me, it was worth it! I love you Fight Dentist! Great Product!
10. Toes – Ever break your toe? It SUUUUUUUCKS!!!!!!! I wasn’t even rolling when it happened. We were just doing a warm-up drill and my pinky toe got caught on the mat…and the rest of my body went the opposite way. It was extremely unnatural looking, and when the toughest guys in gym look at me and cringe, you know its bad. I quickly smashed it back into place like a Neanderthal. Not sure if that was a good idea or a bad idea. I was easily limping for 3 weeks because I couldn’t put any pressure on my foot. Of course I didn’t go to the doctor, because I figured that all they would do was tape it up. Instead, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought a six-pack of athletic tape. So now, every time I get on the mats, I tape my pinky toe to my ring toe on both feet. So far so good. I’ve been clear of toe injuries since implementing that into my mummified safety routine.
11. Black Eyes – It happens, even though I’m not getting punched. Sometimes you knock heads. Sometimes its a dude’s shoulder that comes crashing into your eye-socket. Other times you’re in control and your opponent is flailing away and you get caught with an elbow. Here are a few pics of mine from earlier this year.
Yes, its 2 black eyes. One in each eye, and no it wasn’t at the same time. They actually didn’t hurt at all. I just bought some Arnica gel from CVS to help with the bruising and iced it.
These injuries can get annoying, but not enough to make me stop participating in the sport. The hardest part of dealing with them is deciding what story to tell my wife about what I did to hurt myself yet again…. and asking her to take care of me. The other difficult part of the situation is explaining to my coworkers that I’m not in Fight Club. You know what? Let them believe that I am. Maybe they’ll think twice about giving me more work to do.