Macho, Macho Man

You feel tired.  You feel the strain in your hamstring.  What do you do?  Sadly, most of us “Macho Men” will continue playing and really injure ourselves.  What should you do?

Heat Exhaustion Lesson

In the first January tournament, my doubles partner and I ended up playing two matches one day for three hours in the Florida heat and then two more for another five hours the next day.

Granted I didn’t PREPARE my body correctly for the ordeal; but I also didn’t stop when all the warning signs were flashing.  So, at the end of the match I couldn’t even run for short balls and had a case of severe heat exhaustion (just short of Heat Stroke).

Heart Attack Lesson

As reported earlier, Naples friend Paul Veltman was playing doubles with us and asked for an aspirin on a changeover, because he “was feeling tightness in his chest.”  Instead of getting an aspirin (which was nowhere to be found), he was convinced to go to the hospital and found he had a blockage and a minor heart attack.

Another Example

Winder Bill writes, “some of us are so competitive that we keep playing when we clearly should stop.  In the middle of 1st set of singles, my friend tore an ACL; but not only limped through losing in 3rd set tiebreaker but also played (and won with me) a 3-set doubles match right afterwards. 

When we were scheduled to play again the next day and he said he planned on playing, I told him I would forfeit if he did not go see the emergency room duty Orthopedic Doc to get analysis.  The Orthopedic Doc told him he was crazy and he had already done damage to his Tibia by playing.  Of course, we forfeited.

He is obviously too competitive to make the right decision to retire when injured (and he is a cardiologist).  Should the referee have the authority to overrule a player’s decision to continue after an injury and does that authority clearly exist already?”

Whose Decision?

I do not believe the referee has the authority to force a player to “make a mature decision” and stop playing; but doubles partners and friends watching should feel an opportunity/need/obligation to voice their opinions.

Sadly, many players will not do it on their own; and end up off the courts for weeks, months, or forever!

Your thoughts?

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3 thoughts on “Macho, Macho Man

  1. I was on the court with Paul when he was having his heart attack. I, along with the others on the court insisted that Paul go to the E.R., which he did after some cajoling.
    That said, several years ago I was playing in a tournament at Naples Bath and Tennis with my partner, and good friend Keith Butterfield. We were doing quite well until on one shot I tore my plantar fascia. Keith, being the wise one, insisted that we stop the match. I refused and played the remainder of the match on one leg, hopping from point to point. Naturally we lost and I was on crutches for four weeks.
    Smart – no, stupid – yes.
    Why do we do this? It is an immaturity built in to athletes which makes us afraid to admit our limitations and human frailties.

    Michael, we have all done it! thanks, george

  2. Two years ago this coming August, I suffered an avulsion fracture of my right hip when I was playing a social mixed doubles match on grass at Philadelphia Cricket Club. I was playing with a young 3.5 woman who has only been playing a few years. She is very aggressive and self-confidence but does not yet have the skill set or experience to go along with her mental attitude. We were playing a far more experienced couple who are both 4.5 level tournament players with fairly high national rankings — he being 75 + years old + and she being 45 + years old. In short, we were significantly outclassed and, as a result, I was probably trying too hard to win points and make things happen.

    Anyway, I was serving to the male opponent in the ad court and I hit a pretty good kicker to his backhand. As we were playing on grass, I was running as fast as I could to try to get to the net for serve and volley. Like the experienced player that he is, the opponent hit a nice lob over my partner’s head as I was moving forward. She initially yelled “mine,” and for a millisecond it looked like she was going to be able to backpedal enough to actually get her racquet on the ball. But alas, she couldn’t reach it. So I stupidly stopped my forward progression as quickly as I could and I twisted my body abruptly (and somewhat violently) to try to pivot and change direction in an effort to run behind my partner and maybe get my racquet on the lob over her head after it bounced to keep the ball in play. That is when I felt, and even heard, a distinct “pop” at the side of my right hip, followed by instant and very searing pain.

    Even though I could not put more than quarter weight on my right leg after the injury, I initially thought it was “just a muscle pull” and I actually managed to finish the rest of the set playing with a heavy limp (which my partner and I lost, of course). A few days later, the “pulled muscle” not getting any better, I went to the doctor only to discover through an X-ray that it was an avulsion fracture instead. That is a fracture where the tendons at the end of a muscle actually separate from the bone to which they are attached and they literally yank away some pieces of bone.

    Fortunately for me, my doctor told me the kind of injury that I had frequently affects younger people who play sports on grass fields like soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, etc. and it is actually not uncommon for such athletes to continue to play with the injury because, he explained, “you are not going to do any more damage to the injury by playing than you have already done.” Notwithstanding, I chose not to play for about 5 weeks and then, with the doctor’s permission, I returned to the court and hit some balls without running much until about 7 weeks have elapsed. Then I started playing doubles again, albeit still being ginger with my movement. By about 10 weeks after the injury — just in time for Tennis Fantasies camp in October — I was back to about 90-95%.

    However, to this day, the location at my hip where the injury occurred actually aches whenever it is going to rain. It never did that before the injury.

    Marty, yikes! but i don’t remember seeing any impact at Newk’s that year?? george

  3. George, by the time I got to Newk’s I was fully healed. A few Advil before each match and I was basically the same as always. If you are going to “fracture” your hip — which I do NOT recommend — what I had is the best way to go. 🙂

    Marty, great. george

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