Comeback on 100!

Comeback on 100!

Exactly one year ago I landed funny doing a specialty tumbling pass. It hurt, BAD! My ankle was on fire. I remember one of the moms at the gym running over with ice b/c she saw me turn my ankle from the parents viewing area. Looking back, now, I know, that I made many mistakes after that.

My first mistake was not telling my parents or coaches that I was injured for fear that I would lose my spot on the Level 5 team I had worked so hard to make. Second, after finally telling my parents & seeing a doctor was continuing to practice & compete on the injured ankle long after my doctor told me not to. I literally would wait until my Mom pulled away from the gym, take off the boot & practice even though I was supposed to be out for 4-6 weeks. Well, what started out as a tiny stress fracture to the growth plate in my ankle quickly became a major fracture up my entire tibia (shin bone).

It was the Monday night after we returned from NCA, I was on the tumble track, landed hard out of an Arabian & “CRACK” my leg broke.
The pain was incredible! I’ve had sprains, dislocated fingers, black eyes, even broke my nose on J5, all types of injuries since starting all star cheer 10 years ago. You name it, I probably had it; but nothing compared to this.

My Orthopedic surgeon put me in a cast for 6 weeks; then, an Aircast (boot). I wouldn’t use my crutches because my underarms hurt & I kept taking off the boot (I was a real knuckle head). So, my leg wasn’t healing properly. Back into a cast I went. Now for 8 WEEKS! My parents wouldn’t allow me to even go to the gym because I wasn’t following the rules & staying off my injured leg. They threatened to take away cheer all together.

That’s when something clicked.
Fighting the doctors, my parents, my coaches advice trying to force a come back to soon was only hurting me. I realized that in order to go back to the sport I loved so much I had to STOP & LISTEN. After a total 6 months in a cast, another boot and 3 long months of rehab I was finally able to return to the gym. I felt a feeling I had never experienced before…FEAR. I didn’t know what was going to happen as I prepared to go inside.
Tryouts were a month away & I was determined to make a Worlds team. It was great seeing my Coaches & friends. I was home. It was familiar to me. But, afterwards my body hurt. I was out of shape & so frustrated. My tumbling felt different. My jumps felt different. I lost so many skills. It was not as easy as I thought it would be to return. I was really sad after my first few tumbling sessions because all of my teammates had new skills & I was struggling to keep up. My Coach sat me down & had a long talk about the time needed to allow my body to fully heal in order to get back to Level 5 World’s competition shape. It was not going to happen overnight. I listened & made a decision that if I was going to get back I’d better level up & stop feeling sorry for myself.
I started working with a trainer outside of the gym; a professional soccer coach. We focused only on strength & agility. Most people don’t realize we need these skills as cheerleaders to be able to tumble, base & fly without getting injured.
Everyday I am getting stronger, but it’s not easy. Some days I want to give up. Then, I hear my coach say,
You are looking good Syd, keep it up!

So, my advice is if you are currently out injured, listen to your doctors & coaches. Heal. Keep a journal. Pray. It’s okay to cry. It WILL get better. You will feel like yourself again in time.
If you are returning after an injury, you are going to have to work so hard to get everything back. Just don’t give up!

Your #COMEBACK will be worth all the sweat & tears!
~Sydney Jones
IG: @__Sydneeyy__
Sharita Richardson
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