Bouncing Back From Injury

Posted on July 31, 2013

This featured article brings you a look at how this bowhunter discovered that the path of difficulty can sometimes lead to the greatest reward of all. Stay tuned for the rest of this four-part feature. 



My winter, spring and early summer were spent overcoming two sports-related injuries—tennis elbow and runner’s knee. These soft-tissue ailments are difficult to cope with, and only those afflicted with these injuries could possibly understand the symptoms and how long they take to heal.


During this segment of time, I’d experienced the typical good and bad days. On the good days, I’d try to do a little more physically. That’s when I realized how deceiving these injuries can be. Just because you feel good doesn’t necessarily mean you can go back to the same, ol’ thing.


Days blurred into weeks, weeks into months, and still, I was nowhere near healed. I was becoming more and more depressed not being able to shoot, cycle, hike and work around the house as I used to. Although I was unaware of it, being physical has always been my confidence in life.


Perhaps years of abuse and neglect have finally taken their toll. Too much rough hiking, backpacking, side-hilling all those mountains, needlessly going over the next ridge, jumping off boulders, fast jogging up and downhill, mountain biking (and “pushing” the gears) and so forth. Or, perhaps, in some divine way, maybe this was my “sign” that I had needed to change? Instead of my tendency to be so robust, maybe it was time to be more patient, careful and peaceful.


Feeling Good 

At the end of June, I thought I had whipped the worst of my knee symptoms, as did my therapist. I was feeling confident now, as in the old days, ready to step into it and get back to my old, forceful techniques. About this time, I was doing some fairly intense workout maneuvers for my legs and hips. One evening, after doing my exercise routine and lying in bed, I began feeling a slight, pulsating pain, but this time, it was in my other knee! Emotions began to flood.


Meanwhile, my bow-arm elbow was a bit better, but then, there was this lingering soreness reminding me that I was still hurt. Things such as grabbing full grocery bags, taking out the trash and gathering light firewood became somewhat questionable. I went through this cycle of one joint feeling better, then the other giving me fits, and then over and over again. Each day, I became a mess, hobbling around the house like a car accident victim, timid about everything I did. I wanted to heal quickly and get back on track. This cycle lasted through most of the year.


Some may laugh at these injuries—no broken bone, no severed ACL—not such a big deal. But let me tell you, these were quite distressing to me. And to have several of them all at once was driving me mad.


As I tried to overcome these hurdles, I’d get knocked down every time. Eventually, it got to the point where I could no longer fight the fight. With the help of my faith, I finally realized it was time to stop worrying and time to start focusing on what I could do, not what I couldn’t.


As my thinking changed, so did my energy. I became more dogmatic about exercising, writing and spending time with my family. I was changing one tiny brain cell at a time and doing better and better every day.


Stay tuned for the rest of this feature!


By Joe Bell

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