Before reading what Coach Robert would like to share with us, I just want to mention how proud we are of him for what he’s done and how he’s done it. While we always knew he would get back to 100%, it was how he went about it that impressed us. Reading this, I think back and realize that we didn’t fully grasp how frustrated he was or what emotions he was dealing with. He simply came in and did what he was told and moved on to the next day. Proud of you, brother! – Chris

Dealing with Setbacks

-by Coach Robert Hernandez

I remember the game like it was yesterday. I was playing goalie in an intramural soccer league
 game. A player was bringing the ball into the box and I went out to block the shot. I dove hard right and landed right on my shoulder. The adrenaline was rushing and I popped right back up (burpee style). They dribbled around me and set up to shoot so I dove again. Landing on my shoulder again, I blocked the ball and picked it up. With very little time remaining I threw the ball as far as I could with the same shoulder. I stood there, bent over from the searing pain radiating in my shoulder. My right arm was just hanging there. I could barely raise it.  I knew I was injured. Subsequent appointments and an MRI told me what I did not want to hear… A partial tear in the rotator cuff, slap tear on the labrum, partial bicep tendon tear.
June 19th marks one year anniversary of my surgery. The next 4 weeks were spent on my couch because I couldn’t sleep in my own bed. It was a difficult time… The numerous doctor visits. The countless number of rehab visits. The 1000’s of squats I did with that safety bar (thanks Chris). The hours I spent doing rehab exercise homework. The tears (I made Laura promise to not share with anyone) for the pain but also for the feeling of helplessness, self-doubt, and depression that I was experiencing. All of these things, as it turns out, helped me get back to 💯%.
Was I ever going to be able to do normal everyday functions that I took for granted before? Was I going to be able to throw a ball with my boys? Was I going to be able to get back to what I loved doing? Being a below average Olympic weightlifter / crossfitter isn’t easy. Anyone who knows me knows how active my family is, we like adventure and try to do as much as possible. Building my shoulder this past year has been tough, to say the least.
I’ve been through and learned a lot throughout the last year. I’ve accomplished more than I expected and have done all of the things I mention above. I have a few pointers if a setback finds you in your journey:

  1. Don’t get discouraged. Having a strong support system (wife and family) helped me stay positive and helped me get through. Thank you, Nikki, for being my rock!
  2. Don’t skip rehab. It sucks. It hurts, it’s not improving fast enough, Did I mention it sucks and hurts?
  3. Pick a good Physical Therapist. I wanted to make sure I had the best possible medical professional watching over me. Helping me get back to where I needed and wanted to be. THANK YOU, Laura, for being the best PT I could have ever asked for.
  4. Do the little things. The safety bar squats, the ridiculous amount of time I spent on a lacrosse ball. The stretches, the acupuncture appts, the strength exercises with the 3lb, 5lb, 8lb weights. Don’t skip anything. Stick to the plan and overcome.
  5. Don’t skip the gym. To modify is one of the best things about Crossfit. I can’t do X so I’m not going. I’m unable to Y so I’ll skip it this week. Yes, there are things you won’t be able to do. There is plenty you can do. You just have to be willing to do it.
  6. An injury doesn’t have to be the end. You can work through it if you’re willing. There is life on the other side no matter what.
  7. Rely on your coaches. They can help you pick those exercises to get back on track. That’s why they (we) are here.
  8. I have a phrase I use (trying to be funny). Never don’t give up! The double negative actually makes it positive and that is where you need to live! The power of positive thinking is incredible, just as destructive is negative thinking. Keep your head up!
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