It’s often said that when you feel a lot of pain in a certain area, that throbbing, aching, stinging body part is “talking.” This got us to thinking, especially after hearing from so many athletic trainers at NATA 2017 recently, what if your tibia area could talk…
TO: Football Coach
FROM: Your tight end’s shins
Let me start off by saying, I’m with you 110%! No, 120%!
When you blow your whistle, I can feel the Adrenalin rush through my veins, and I’m ready to sprint from a dead stop on the line of scrimmage and run down the field before I can even think. I’m pumping those feet as hard as I can – 10 yards, 20 yards, whatever the play – until it’s time to stop short, turn and jump so that the hands can grab that football.
I’m ready to stop, start, stop again and sprint like the wind as you, coach, run us through practices and training sessions, to be ready for the season. And, it’s all good. Really. I am part of the team of muscles, tendons and ligaments that are critical to help this football tight end move the ball down the field and score touchdowns.
Until that burning pain starts.
I hate mentioning it, but it eventually gets hard to ignore. It might not start until the third or fourth hour of practice, or the third quarter of a game, and I try not to notice the pain. Sure we’ll do a little stretch before training or the game, but the pain does not go away. After a little while, the burning might become more of a stabbing pain as I keep running plays. I don’t want to have to limp (I hate being the reason we get benched!), but at this point, the training is just too much to handle and the muscles around me are just not protecting me like they should.
I start to think – is every shin on the team going through this much torture? Then, I notice all the other players with their legs up on the bench and ice bags on their shins, and I feel the comfort of shared misery.
I am writing this note to you as the self-designated ‘Spokeshin’ for our team. Please help me – and all the team’s shins – get stronger so we can break this cycle of pain. I want to feel as strong at the end of practice as I do at the start. I want to be able to help this tight end pass the opponent’s players and score the winning touchdown. I want to stop worrying about when the pain will hit, and the disappointment when we have to sit on the bench instead of training or playing the game.
Not that I’m a jealous type, but the rest of the body gets all the strength training attention and I’m left to fend for myself. How about some resistance training for us shins too, Coach? Seems only fair, right? If I could have the protection of strong muscles around me, I could work harder and longer during practice or the game, and not have to worry about shin splints so I could help the tight end reach peak performance.
As Charlie Brown always said, “I want to be the hero, not the goat,” so please coach, make sure that every player on your team does strength training that focuses on the shin area as well as all the other areas of the lower leg. Your players and all shins will thank you for it!