by: Anthony Campo
On July 29th of this year I was riding high. I was in the championship league game of my baseball league and I had the best powerlifting numbers of my life. After winning this championship game I was going to finish gearing up for a powerlifting meet, looking to crush an elite total in the raw 198 lb weight class. In the bottom of the 9th inning, up 4-1 with 2 outs while I was playing the outfield a ball was hit deep in the gap. There was no way I was going to let this ball fall, and I was going at it hard. Just as I was about to lay out and make the game ending catch I was called off my the centerfielder. Not wanting an all-out collision I stopped on a dime to get out of his way. My spike stuck in the ground, and the result was a semi-severe left ankle sprain. This happened right after my main lifting days so I had a few days until another heavy lifting session. Although my mobility was pretty impaired with athletic movements I was pleased to find that I could still squat and deadlift without much restriction. In fact it had the largest effect on my bench set-up, however I was still able to lift at a high level.
This was a huge relief and I was still able to prepare for the powerlifting meet. 2 weeks after the league championship was the inter-league championship game. I had not been able to really run right up until the game. That day I tested it out, and I was about at 80 percent with some pain still. That was the best I felt so there was no way I was not going to play. In my second at bat, I hit a ball in the hole and tried to leg out an infield single. I was out, but felt pretty good afterwards. I felt as if I was actually running at about 90 percent on that play. I played the rest of the game and felt fine. The next morning I woke up and was surprised to feel some tightness and pain in my right hamstring. In fact I had trouble stretching or getting any range of motion out of it. Great, a hamstring strain now! I had never had a hamstring injury before. I must of had altered running mechanics because of the ankle, and put some abnormal stresses on the hamstring resulting in the injury. This occurred at the beginning of my de load so I had about a week to do some corrective work to see how severe it was, and how much it will affect my lifting. It felt a little better each day, and finally the first day of my next training cycle was here… Deadlifts.
Even though I felt pain in the area, and it still hurt to stretch which made the eccentric portion of the deadlift a little more difficult, the pain did not seem to increase with more weight. I was pleasantly surprised to hit my work set for an all-time personal record. What was even better is that I woke up the next day with almost NO pain. That was it, I had dodged a bullet! With less than 2 months before the meet I was now going to be smart. My main baseball was over, but there was also a fall ball league starting that week on Sundays. I debated, and decided to play but to really take it easy. I love baseball, and love being outside so I just couldn’t say no. I decided to DH (not play the field,) and only run about 80 percent on the base paths. Everything was going according to plan and I was having a great game. In the last inning with a 10-0 lead, one of our playing went down, and I decided to go play the outfield for the last 2 outs. We shifted way over for a pull hitter. The hitter fought off a pitch and hit a high fly ball opposite field on the foul line. This would have been a tough play even if I was in my normal positioning. Well, the ball goes up and I apparently lose all brain function. I turn it on and am NOT going to let the ball drop. Something about competitiveness makes people do some pretty dumb things. I sprint as hard as I can and right before I about to go into my dive I hear a pop. One of the stupidest things I have ever done… period. So now here I am torn hamstring high up in the attachment, unable to do full squats or deadlifts.
In Part II I will discuss my full road to recovery. How I shifted my goals for periods of times, and got back to my level before the injury and beyond.