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Playing Hurt

#askEV

Every serious young GK will eventually have to make a decision--regardless of level--to play hurt, or not to play hurt.

Whats' that mean?  In sport, there are 2 variations of 'hurt'.  Injured, and Hurt.  Injured means that you can't play.  Hurt means that you can play, but it is going to be painful.  You can play, but it's gonna hurt.

Example:  Hugo Lloris is injured.  (Dislocated elbow).  Ederson is hurt. (Sprained thumb).  

You may have heard me say at one point, that "there are 2 'H's in Goalkeeping.  It Hot and it Hurts".  Goalkeepers are the one position in soccer/football where in order to get better in training, you need to open yourself up to injury.  All of the diving around, hitting the ground, getting up, catching hard-hit balls, and doing so under continual physical duress, increases the chance of getting hurt. Most GKs suffer the usual bumps and bruises, and sprained fingers, thumbs and wrists.  Maybe a dodgy knee, and maybe a raw, red, hip 'raspberry'.  These are all part and parcel of high-level training.  And most of these are 'hurts' that a GK can play matches through.

Occasionally, like LLoris, you suffer a traumatic injury which forces you away from the game and into the training, rehab, and physical therapy room(s).  No one ever likes to see that happen, and no one ever wants it to happen to them!  But it is part of the game...an occupational hazard of the position.

So what do you do?  Well, if you're hurt, you follow closely the advice and instruction of your athletic trainer (the GK's best friend).  You ice, stretch, massage, and tape your way to the next game.  And then you do it all over again.  If you're injured, you follow to the letter, your Dr's recommendation and instructions and do whatever the Physical Therapist dictates and you 'grind' your way back.  I have often said that the hardest part of being an athlete is being injured.  You're working hard, but you feel like you can't contribute to your team's plight.  You feel sort of "off to the side".  Being injured requires tremendous mental discipline to be able to fight your way back.  Being hurt requires daily "patching up" to continue to play and contribute.  Both are challenges, and both have pitfalls and rewards.  But how you approach both situations can make you a better player, and certainly overall, a better person.

Injuries and Hurts are part of the game, part of GKing.  How you deal with these set-backs will often times determine how well you come back and how dedicated you are to your team, position, and craft when you come back.  It can be a long and winding road.  But it can also be a very rewarding time and experience.

Good Luck and God Speed.

May the ground beneath your dive be soft.  May your goalposts be 3 feet wide.  May the other team shoot everything right at you.

All the Best--EV