Fraser Brown: Being injured can be tough and there were times last season when it was 50-50 as to whether or not I would play again
I was in London last week to see a specialist about my knee injury. When I got off I was wearing a knee brace and expected to be away for another three months. By the time I got home the corset had been put aside and I envisioned a much faster return of just about four weeks.
I had ruptured my posterior cruciate ligament against Zebre in Italy on October 16th. A ruptured PCL can lead to knee instability and at the time it was difficult to assess the extent of damage due to the swelling around the joint. Fast forward five weeks, the swelling was gone, all pain was mostly gone, and the joint appeared reasonably stable.
Fortunately, I have always been fortunate enough to have fairly decent muscle mass around my knees, which is extremely important with PCL injuries because the muscles help stabilize your knee and do the work normally done by a knee. Fully functional PCL.
I started running this week and, fingers crossed, depending on my progress over the next two weeks and how quickly I can find a new pair of lungs, I might be back in time for some of the European games or Christmas derbies. .
It’s been a tough year for me with injuries, not least because of what I’ve potentially missed on the international stage. The last game I played for Scotland was against Ireland at the end of the Fall Nations Cup a year ago next weekend when I prolapsed a record in the top of the back.
If I’m in good shape, playing well and being selected for the Six Nations, it will be over a year since I played for Scotland. Something I thought I would never get the chance to do, playing for my country is the greatest privilege I will ever have as a professional rugby player and it is a big goal for me to have had all along early stages of this injury.
Being injured can be hard to come to terms with at times in your career. My neck injury last year was as bad as I got it and there were times soon after that happened where it was 50-50 to see if I would play again or not.
Disc lesions can be complex and very frustrating. It’s a waiting game and there is very little you can do to speed up the healing process other than resting and trying to get a good night’s sleep, not as easy as it sounds.
I was lucky that after a few horrible weeks initially, I recovered faster than I expected, and regained full health and strength, and have had no problems since. .
Injuries will happen in rugby. That’s the nature of the game, but it doesn’t make it any easier because you’re always going to miss something, whether it’s Glasgow matches, Scotland matches or opportunities to play to be selected for a club, a country. or even the Lions.
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If you’re not prepared, being hurt can leave you a very lonely place. I have always found that you should try to maximize the time you spend to get back fit, ready and motivated.
You must have a very clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve. Obviously, you need to focus on healing and strengthening, but this is a great opportunity to develop new skills or plan for the next step in life when Fathers’ Time ends your playing career.
I have been fortunate in this regard to work and play for a fantastic club in Glasgow which support in every way possible. Danny Wilson has been brilliant for me and several other players since taking over, involving us in the coaching planning sessions, meetings and allowing us to take responsibility and coach as needed.
It is very rare that you are the only person injured on a rugby team. We have a separate WhatsApp group for injured players so that we can communicate with each other whether it’s planning gym hours or more likely making coffees. It may not seem like much, but knowing that you are part of a larger group helps you stay motivated and support you on the days you need it.
The nature of the game is now such that you cannot expect to play professional rugby and not think that at some point you are going to get seriously injured.
I think players who are starting their careers should be aware of this. The risk in rugby is now much greater than it has ever been, despite the fact that we are putting all of these processes in place to take care of the health of the players better than ever.
The players are faster, stronger and fitter and the collisions are more important. People are more professional – they have more time for training and analysis.
When you injure yourself, you need to see it as part of your job and do everything you can to get back in shape, stronger, and as quickly as possible.
There will always be people upstairs who will pay your wages and ask you “when will he be back” or “is he more at risk now because of his injury”.
Media pressure can also play an important role in a player’s mental state when injured. It goes without saying that the more prominent the player is, the more closely he will be watched.
Resilience isn’t something we’re born with or without, it develops over time, it can be stored and used when needed, and it’s a player’s greatest asset to help them. to overcome wounds and adversity and I truly believe it.