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Learning my why: Answers, Questions, and Truths

Hi Folks,

Kristins post about part of her story (stay tuned for the rest!) inspired me to think about my own story, and why I’m here, doing what I do.  Here is what I’ve come up with (though I reserve the right to update this as time passes, haha).

Why do I do it?

To be a source of trustworthy knowledge and actionable steps that people need so that they can improve their lives exactly how they want to and maybe even more.

  • I’ve always wanted to be the person people went to for help.
  • I’ve seen how valuable being that person can be, and being able to provide that to someone fills my soul up.

That was the TLDR version.  Read on for how I got there.  Starting with story time…

When I was young, I was being foolish around a pool table and ended up hitting my face on the side of it, cutting up my gums pretty good/bad.  It was during a family function and one of my uncles, a firefighter, was there to help.  At the moment I was afraid and worried that I had done something that would, a: be a problem permanently (in an aesthetic/health respect), and b: get me in trouble with my parents (I told you I was young, though I think that fear never goes away haha).  Immediately, my uncle took calm control of the situation and helped make a plan that assessed where I was between serious injury, and a bump/bruise (it ended up just being a gnarly flap of skin that tore off my gums with a lot of blood that made it look bad) while he also made it all seem like a team effort to help save me and the evening.  It was inspiring to say the least (and I was fine… just being a wimp).  Onto the next story…

Both times I injured my shoulders (one, a clavicular fracture while snowboarding, the other a dislocated shoulder while playing football.  Different shoulders, years apart), I went to the walk-in clinic/hospital and saw a doctor.  While I didn’t enjoy the wait time (none of us does, but it’s a necessary part of having a non-life threatening injury), I appreciated the focus and methodical approach the doctors that ultimately saw me had, as well as their conclusions and reassurance that in time, I’d be just fine.

I’ve always wanted to be like those people.  I’ve always wanted to be the person that people felt comfortable asking for answers (at least the ones related to health/wellness).  I always wanted to be able to provide measured, calm answers to questions that innately inspire a certain level of fear in people.  Taking away fear, I think, is a pretty valuable skill.

So, my goal from a young age was to be involved in healthcare.  I originally thought I would go “be a doctor”, but as I got into my third and fourth years of university, I learned that for me, being a medical doctor wasn’t going to provide me with the tools I needed to answer the questions I wanted to answer.  So I explored other options (Physiotherapy, Speech and Language pathology, Audiology, Population and Community Ecology, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Naturopathy) for school, and even looked into applying to the fire department (they wouldn’t hire colour-blind folks back then).  It eventually took me to Chiropractic college, where I enrolled in their doctor of chiropractic program, as well as their masters of science in applied clinical nutrition programs.  I attended a lot of lectures and labs, and read and studied a LOT.  I learned a lot.  It was such a great thing to think that if I just read and learned as much as I could – if I read all the literature about all the things within my scope of practice (where I could help people), I would finally have all the answers.

Throughout my quest to learn the answers, I learned some hard truths:

First, the textbooks, and some of the information from lectures, labs and skill work would that I was learning, would be obsolete by the time I was allowed to use it.  Not surprising and somewhat easy to mitigate by always working to continue learning.

Lesson Learned:  You never get to stop learning if you want to be the one providing the answers.

Second, the scientific literature (what I always thought was like gospel, untouchable and un-taintable) was/is biased, unpredictable, and in some cases purposely falsified to serve the needs of those who might benefit from it (sometimes, honestly, as the author wants to see their hypothesis come true, and sometimes in more sinister ways).

Lesson learned:  Scrutinize what you read.  Does it make sense?  Does it fit with everything else we know?  If it doesn’t, WHY?  

Third, most people that DO come to you with questions, will have a somewhat unique and different question than everyone else that has, which makes their answers also unique and different.  It will be very rare that a person presents like they do in the textbooks/classes/exams.

Lesson Learned:  Providing solutions isn’t, and will never be a “recipe book” or “menu”.  You can’t just file people into tidy and neat categories and each and every case needs to be addressed individually, which requires a lot of patience, willpower, and open-mindedness.

So.  Learning that having the answers to the questions people were asking was going to be very difficult, and in most cases, fairly disappointing, has been hard to accept.  But, as difficult as it is to accept it, it’s the truth.  And one of the most important things I’ve learned is that there is something more important than being the person with the answers; and that is working tirelessly to be someone who provides the truth – even if it means revealing that those we would expect to have solid answers on, still don’t.

So why do this?  Why put in thousands upon thousands of hours reading, attending seminars, and learning about manual therapy, modalities, food production, different diets, food allergies, intolerances, dyskinesias, program design, rehabilitative exercises, barbell strength, weightlifting, gymnastics, energy systems, fueling systems, fasting, ketogenic dieting, sleep and recovery, stress relief, belief systems, habit building, time management, and a list of other things, some known and some unknown, that will NEVER end?

To be a source of trustworthy knowledge and actionable steps that people want and/or need so that they can improve their lives exactly how they want to and maybe even more.

 

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for providing me with the opportunity to do so.

Your friend,

Adam

 

Originally posted at http://www.reallifehealth.ca/opinion/learning-answers-questions-truths

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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure – PART 1

Injury prevention is something that I value greatly. As a Physiotherapist, I see many athletes struggling to return to sport and, in some cases, making the life-changing decision to stop playing the sport altogether. This is a very challenging journey and one that I, too, understand

MY INJURY STORY

I would like to share my experience with you so that you can understand it may be a long road, and that injuries force you to make a lot of decisions.

I was 19 years old and I had worked my butt off to gain a starting position, as the goalkeeper on a varsity team in my rookie year. I was on Cloud 9 and stayed there until the day of my injury.

I remember it like it was yesterday. When it happened, I told my coach not to worry, I’d rest up and I’d be at practice on Monday. However, I never made it to practice — instead, for the months that followed I spent countless hours in rehab, endured multiple flare ups and began to experience a loss in muscle strength and an emotional roller coaster. My heart was broken: I knew I was facing a hiatus from the sport I loved.

After many attempts to strengthen my knee without surgery – it came to a point where my knee would give out while simply running in a straight line. I knew surgery for ACL reconstruction would be the best route to take.

After 12 months of rehab, I was finally getting back into the swing of things when I tore my meniscus in the same knee. Back to the operating room I went; the rehab cycle started again.

I was hopeful and determined. I was making strides, slowly but surely. As I worked hard to regain my physical strength I kept my mental game strong by attending all practices, games and cheering on my teammates. I wasn’t ready to let go, playing soccer was all I ever really knew. I started training again for my sport and noticed I was timid on challenges and hesitated on plays.

That’s when the worst pain set in. The pain of knowing in the back of my mind that I had lost my edge. I knew in my heart that it was time to call it in but making that decision felt impossible.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ME?

Physical injury quite often pays a toll on your mental state. Many questions plagued my mind as I tried to decide my fate in this sport.

  • What will I do if I am not playing soccer?
  • What will happen to my knee if I continue to play at this level?
  • Am I susceptible to more injury?
  • What will happen to the relationships I built with my teammates?
  • How will my parents feel (they are part of this community too)?
  • Am I a failure?
  • Will I get lazy?
  • How does this affect my life in 10 – 20 years from now?
  • Will I be active as I age?

Only I could determine the answers to these questions. I couldn’t go back; I couldn’t blame my parents, coach, teammates, doctors or therapists. Only I could decide what was best for me.

Like many athletes who suffer from injuries, this decision is life-changing. How do you make the decision to stop playing the sport that defined you for the majority of your life? It’s not an easy one.

THE JOURNEY IS THE REWARD

Don’t get me wrong, I have witnessed countless athletes return to playing high-level sports after similar or even more serious injuries. My story is about my personal journey and meant to help those see that sometimes a change in direction is ok; it’s not meant to discourage those that are going down the path of returning to their sport.

This injury turned out to be a very positive thing for me (as they say, “every cloud has a silver lining”), however, understand that at 19-years-old, wasn’t easy.  Looking back, it has shaped me and obviously led me into a career dedicated to injury rehabilitation and prevention.

August 16, 2017, marked 13 years since I had ACL reconstruction surgery. How fitting that it was also the first day that the Physiotherapy staff at Real Life Health initiated The FIFA 11+ ACL injury prevention program with the Laurentian Women’s and Men’s soccer teams.

Through my journey, I vowed to return to Laurentian to implement an ACL injury prevention program. I wanted to help others prevent the injury that devastated me and ended my soccer career. I am so thankful to have this opportunity with Laurentian’s Soccer programs and I am proud to be able to offer an injury prevention program that will help athletes achieve their goals by insulating them from injury and improving their performance.

I don’t regret my decision to stop pursuing and playing soccer. I had many opportunities to learn new things about new sports. I found new interests and redirected my priorities to a lifetime of health and wellness.

People often ask, “Do you have pain in your knee?”, to which the answer is yes, sometimes I do. I know it will be a lifelong journey to maintain the strength and health of my joints (especially my knee).  The scars on my knee remind me of my journey and they welcome me to a club of many others who have gone down a similar path.  A path that, though different than the one a younger me expected, continues to get better.  See you shortly for Part 2!

This post, by Kristin Green Registered Physiotherapist, was originally posted on Real Life Health.

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