Alive and Jumping

I’m sorry it’s been such a long time since I’ve put fingers to keyboard. My last blog was in June 2009, and its now March 2010. So what’s been happening? In the midst of last season, I was diagnosed with a double hernia. As a professional athlete, having surgery is never helpful to your training or competitions, so I arranged for the operation straight away. My long term goal is the London Olympics, so sacrificing now is the only time.

The operation was a great success and although the general anesthetic knocked me pretty badly, I was straight into rehab and focusing on re-building my groin area and dissolving any scar tissue that was forming post surgery. A very uncomfortable process, but with the guidance of Mark Buckingham (the best physio in the UK) I was soon back on top of my training.

With Mark’s experienced guidance, he quickly identified an area which needed my next immediate attention. The dreaded Achilles. Due to repetitive training and jumping on that foot from a young age, and then followed by an Achilles rupture in 2006, a large calcareous bone growth had built on the back on my ankle. With large, I mean the size of a small plum. Not only was it causing me discomfort during training, it was robbing me of 2 inches of flexion within the Achilles, which would as a jumper directly affect the jumping height. Imagine a small cat. Watch how easily it can jump onto a ledge or furniture much higher than their own body – this is due to the large lever type foot that they have. If as humans we had our legs attached the other way round (imagine the feet going into the hips) we also would be able to jump much higher. Now take away 2 inches from our already limited range, and I could see why I was getting frustrated at my progress.

On January 11th, 2010 I went back under a general anesthetic to have the bone removed. Ouch. The surgery was a great success, under the hands of an experienced orthopedic surgeon Prof. Ribbons (he did Michael Schumacher’s neck surgery). After the surgery, healing was slow. It was difficult to remember that unlike my hernia operation, bone heals very differently to muscles and tendons. Mark explained that it was more of a waiting game, rather than an active rehab, and although terribly frustrating it had to be done.

We are now at the start of March 2010, and I’ve been given a clean bill of health to commence my rehab and build up. I’ll be writing much more regularly about my training and my progress this year, so I do hope you’ll stay in touch as I love to hear from my supporters and fans out there. As for all you budding high jumpers who write very regularly to me, keep up the good work and hopefully I’ll see you at a competition one day soon!.

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