Avoiding Injury in Sports – From Rugby to Parkour, Stop Getting Hurt!

I would be lying if I said I was an expert on either sports, health or injuries. I’m just a guy who has – for the most part – avoided harming myself while enjoying the activities I love.

Whether you’re playing a game of rugby, lifting some weights, or darting around the city as a parkour enthusiast, you’ve got a reasonably high chance of hurting yourself in some fashion or another. Unless you avoid physical activity altogether, I suggest following a few simple pieces of advice to stay fit and free from injury in whatever activity you choose.

I’m not going to tell you to stretch or warm up properly; everyone knows that stuff already, and yet still hurt themselves in sports, exercise, and play. Instead I’m going to share with you a few mindsets and mental habits to keep in mind when you’re running down that last stretch of field.

Pay Attention to this One…

I’ve had one really bad injury over the years, and one not-so-bad injury that was still kind of bad. The first one had absolutely nothing to do with sports or physical activities, but I’m going to start with it because it’s still a perfect example for my first point. Let’s begin…

Photo by Schnaars
Photo by Schnaars

When I was about 7 years old, I went to an Elementary School that allowed us to play with saws, knives, drills, and my favorite – hammers. I loved pointlessly hammering nails into blocks of wood for hours on end. It was fun, it was satisfying, and it also turned out to be quite dangerous. Who would have thought? You see, one day I wasn’t paying attention, and another student decided he was going to hammer my nail, so to speak. He took a swing, missed, and and hit my middle finger with all the force he could muster. After the initial shock wore off about 10 seconds later, there was blood everywhere, and I was rushed to the hospital. My thumb had been dangling by a thread, bone crushed to nothing. Ow.

As you may have noticed, I mentioned one key mistake in all of this: I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t focused on my hammering craft, and someone was able to get in there and mess me up. Being completely in the here and now, paying complete attention is a wonderful way to avoid hurting oneself in the gym, on the field, or while building shit. Save your daydreaming for another time, lest you be included on a list of the most stupid Rugby injuries ever seen, or perhaps even the Darwin Awards.

Practice this 100% of The Time…

Remember that second not-so-bad injury I mentioned? I’m going to tell you about it, but you have to promise not to laugh at me, because it was pretty damn stupid.

A few years ago I was training with a few parkour buddies of mine, and after a grueling two hours of running around the city like an idiot, I was beginning to get tired. It was time to eat, relax, and re-charge my batteries. I mean, that’s what I should have done. Instead, I decided to go for a difficult jump that would have strained me at the best of times because hey, why not? Now, I promise this isn’t going where you think it is…

You see, as I wound up for this death defying jump across a walkway, I started to get cocky. I realized that it wasn’t quite as far as I initially thought, and that this would be simple. No problem, I’ve got this. I swung my arms back, looked where I wanted to jump, and then promptly slammed BOTH my hands into my own hips as I propelled forward. Did I make the jump? Sure. Did I sprain both my thumbs? You betcha! I hadn’t given that movement 100%, and I suffered the consequences for it.

Any time you’re actively lifting a weight, or carrying out a motion like throwing a ball, make damn sure you’re giving it 100% lest you hurt yourself through a sloppy throw, poor technique, or in my case, complete idiocy. Believe me, explaining how I sprained both thumbs at once did not make for a particularly awesome story.

I’m Slightly Uncomfortable…

In parkour, there’s an unspoken rule that if you aren’t able to make yourself do something within 10 seconds out of fear, then you shouldn’t do it. It’s aptly called “the 10 second rule”, and I think it works quite well for every sport.

Being just a little bit uncomfortable with something is a good thing. That’s how we grow as people and become better at things, by pushing ourselves a little bit. The trouble is when we push ourselves much too hard; way past the minor discomfort, and right into the danger zone of serious injury. If you’re ever worried about being able to pull of a move without hurting yourself, then simply don’t do it! The few times I’ve ignored this rule, it’s been to my absolute detriment, and I believe you’ll find the same thing.

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Chad

I'm a co-founder and writer here at Unfinished Man. I write, manage the look and feel of the website, and make sure that nothing breaks. I also reply to the vast majority of our emails, so if you're sending one through, I suggest you be nice. Everyone says I'm the least offensive of our writers, so they gave the email jockey task to me. When I'm not improving the site, I write about fashion, video games, politics, and anything related to science and technology.

2 comments on “Avoiding Injury in Sports – From Rugby to Parkour, Stop Getting Hurt!”

  1. Chad buddy, you’ve neglected to mention an undeniable fact, that chicks dig scars, so potentially serious sports injuries almost always have an upside. Many a time I’ve been approached by chicks in bars asking “Oh my, how did you acquire that manly 12″ scar across your chest?” to which I reply “Gator wrestling in redneck country baby”. Never fails bud. ;-(

    Reply
    • True, as long as you’ve got a good story. Saying “oh, someone hit my finger with a hammer in elementary school” or “I cut my hand installing a video card…” are not very exciting.

      Reply

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