A year has passed, and a new normal is the new normal.
One thing I have struggled the most with is the term of “adaptive athlete”, and since day one I’ve really considered myself an “injured athlete” above anything else. Injury implies a temporary state, adaptive a permanent one.
At this point you’re probably thinking “What the %$&* is he talking about? Does he think his foot will grow back?”. Of course not, but the foot I lost was plagued with injuries anyway, from a tendency towards achilles sprains, and some history of ankle pain and mobility issues that were constant effort to keep at bay.
This new scenario for me has been a temporary setback, and already much of the strength and capability I had before is starting to return. I am deadlifting over 300#, squatting almost 200#. I can box jump, I can run, I can kettle bell swing, and I can do yoga. None of these things are at the same numbers as before, but are no worse than if I’d been out for 6 months for some other purpose.
This got me to thinking about the term “adaptive” and asking the question “are we all adaptive at some level?”
Prior to my motorcycle accident and the loss of the foot, I dealt with my achilles and ankle issues with physical therapy, specific training, and the use of tape to reduce the risk of further problems. I adapted and made it work.
I am a single father, with a successful career that keeps my schedule packed, and the same busy schedule as most people in my situation. This means I cannot always work out as much as I would like, or how I would like. So I adapt and I make it work.
As a 43 year-old active male, I have similar mobility problems and injury tendencies as similar men my age that don’t stretch enough, and push through pain stupidly once in a while. So I rehabilitate and adapt and make it work.
The prosthetic leg(s) that I don in order to achieve the results I want, or even to walk with a cup of coffee and a cell phone to the ear, are as much a part of me as my left foot ever was. The limitations they impose on me are becoming smaller and smaller, and within another year I will be out there doing all the things I was before. As a driven, passionate, individual.
Our lives, in other words, give us all enough limitations that a prosthetic limb can just be seen as another challenge in the slew of things that life throws at us.
So I challenge you when you look at myself and similar athletes and call us “adaptive”, to take a look at the limitations your life imposes and tell yourself “I am also adaptive”.