Injury. Every skater’s worst nightmare.
Unfortunately, playing a high impact contact sport, you have to expect that you will pick up injuries along the way. What shows real strength of character is how you bounce back from that. No injury should be taken lightly, no matter how small you think it may be. Listen to your doctor, they might not know/understand roller derby but they do know what is best in order for your injury to heal properly. Only you can know if your body will handle being back on 8 wheels. Do your physio, it will help immensely with you getting back on your skates. Even after you’ve recovered, keep doing the physio, it will help to continue to strengthen the muscles in the area of injury.
Having been seriously injured myself; I know how frustrating it can be not to be skating. But fear not, there is a way to stay involved with derby while you aren’t skating. I went to practice every week when I was injured, it may sound ridiculous, you’re thinking “Why the hell am I bothering, I can’t skate!” but it does make sense. You’ll be surprised how much you pick up just by watching. You’ll learn how your team works with one another, things for improvement etc. So get someone to drag your broken ass to practice, and more often than not, your league will be over the moon to see you.
Watch as much derby as you can. Make notes of interesting tactics and bouts that you see. Research. Take what you have learned back to your league, everyone sees things from different vantage points, so make yours heard.
A trick that an injured skater from Dundee Roller Girls used was to keep a journal of her progress throughout her recovery. You don’t have to write in it every day, but write down significant things about your recovery, even if you feel it’s as trivial as “Today I managed to take a bath by myself”. Whenever you feel blue about your perceived lack of progress, look back on the journal and you’ll see how far you’ve come.
Being injured does not mean the end of your skating career. If playing derby is not an option, why not look into becoming a referee? They are just as important in derby as the skaters and play a pivotal role in the smooth running of any bout. Ask to get involved with training, you will be super vigilant as to how to avoid picking up the injury that you suffered, pass it on to other skaters, they will thank you for it.
There are lots of committees within each league, some that are not directly related to skating but are important in the continued progress of the league. Join as many committees as you physically can. You might not be able to make every meeting, but this will ensure that your voice is still heard. An injured skaters opinion is just as valid as any other skater.
You can and will bounce back from any injury you suffer in the span of your derby lifetime. Want to know how I know? Cause I did and so have many others.