Unfortunately, our family has had some sports-injury challenges to kick of the summer, as my active 13 year-old daughter, dislocated her left elbow about 3 months ago. She has always enjoyed riding bikes, but once we were sheltering in place she had the time and the desire to start riding more frequently and for longer distances. She and her 7-year-old brother were taking 15 mile rides on Mount Tamalpais behind our house. They were building dirt jumps in an open field. For about a month, she spent hours on her bike each day. It was so wonderful to see them spending so much special time together doing something they both loved!
Then one day, as she was going over a big dirt jump on her mountain bike, she fell. She must have extended her left arm to break the fall and fell on her hand. She knew immediately that her elbow “went out and in.” Luckily, a close friend is an orthopedic surgeon and saw her immediately. After examinations and x-rays, her arm was put in a futurist looking brace that could be mistaken for a prop in a science fiction movie. She says it looks “bionic” and our 4 year-old son has taken to calling her “Iron Girl.”
Although the brace allowed her to move her arm up and down, it restricted her arm from doing any motion that could reinjure it. Not being able to shoot a basketball normally, to ride her bike or to hit a backhand in tennis, is not fun to her. She has been bummed!
So, we have come up with creative alternative activities she can do to stay active. She says our alternative activities definitely aren’t as much fun as her normal ones, but at least she is staying active and learning how to deal with a challenging situation. I have been trying to emphasize to her that she can develop other skills that she potentially would have never taken the time to develop if she hadn’t gotten hurt. For example, here is a video of her dribbling with her basketball (with only her right hand).
Dealing with an injury is not easy whether you are 13 or 44. It is hard to be patient and let your body heal. It’s hard to see your arm atrophying. It is hard to stop doing things that bring you joy. However, if you are creative and keep a positive attitude, hopefully you can find a silver lining and make lemonade out of lemons.
She got her bionic brace off a month ago, but still has to be cautious about moving her elbow too much until it fully heals. She still can only dribble with her right hand and can only use one arm for her backhand in tennis.
Fingers crossed that she gets back to her normal activities soon! Until then, she is still working on new skills and trying to look at the positives that can come from being injured!