The Little Rotator Cuff that Could

Everything was quiet as I stood poised on the starting block.  I heard the announcer call “take your mark”, and my mind cleared of everything except the water beneath me.  I took a deep breath and waited for the loud “beep” that would signal my launch off of the block.  It was my favorite event: the 200 yard butterfly.  The “beep” that I was so anxiously awaiting finally sounded and I pooled all of my muscle power into my legs to spring off of the block and get a lead on my opponents from the start.  The water felt cool around me as usual, but as I took my first few strokes I knew something was wrong.  I had tendonitis in my left shoulder since I was probably fifteen, but I had never felt it quite like this before.  I was a junior in high school, and I was getting closer and closer to reaching the national cut in the 200 yard butterfly.  As I kept powering through the swim, I heard cracking and popping in my left shoulder more than usual.  I finished the race, but I realized it was probably time to see a doctor again.

We made an appointment, and the next day I was having a snowball fight with my friends.  I heard another loud “pop”, and my arm dropped to my side.  I was unable to lift my arm because my shoulder had finally given out on me after eight years of swimming.  I went to see the doctor a few days after that incident, and my shoulder still had not improved.  The doctor ran a series of tests on my shoulder, and concluded that I had tendonitis compounded with a rotator cuff that was close to tearing.  The doctor said I should quit swimming, and I almost starting crying right there in the examining room.  I knew I should have listened, but I decided that I would just take ice and aspirin and push through it.

I not only finished my junior year of swimming, but I concluded my senior year by making it to nationals in Florida.  Although I have since stopped swimming, it is a sport that I will forever hold dear in my heart.  I still have to be careful with my shoulder because it is still very sensitive, but I am happy that I was able to push through it, even though the doctor seemed to have other ideas about what was best for me.

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One Response to The Little Rotator Cuff that Could

  1. striva says:

    This was so inspiring and awesome to read! I am so glad you got to make nationals in Florida. Please make sure to take care of your body when you need to though, but it sounds like you do!

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