The physical and mental struggle of a sporting injury

Jack Nowell of Exeter Chiefs is tackled by Kyle Sinckler of Bristol Bears during the Gallagher Premi

Jack Nowell of Exeter Chiefs is tackled by Kyle Sinckler of Bristol Bears during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs at Ashton Gate on 23 Apr. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

 Rocky Balboa said it best: “Life is not about how hard you hit. But how much you can get hit and still keep moving forward.” 
Perfectly matched to the game of rugby. 
Throughout my career, I would often encounter injury, and some may say I had more than my fair share.  
The key for me was to use it as an opportunity, to refocus and maybe improve parts of me as a sportsperson, or with the longer layoffs, look at opportunities to take my mind away from the everyday grind of being an injured athlete. 
Being injured as a rugby player is the worst part of the job, especially as a Chief. The rehab days are long and tough, often turning up before the rest of the squad and leaving after. 
Few know there way around a recovery schedule more than one of our most favourite Cornishmen, Jack Nowell, who has had one of the roughest years in terms of injuries. Such an influential man around the squad, whether it’s on or off the pitch. He has missed out on so much, with Six Nations rugby and a Lions tour on this year, the timing is awful. 
However, knowing Jack and the family and support network he has, hopefully he’ll come back strong. 
His latest injury in the game against Worcester follows on from his toe surgery and hamstring tear, a ligament strain is something I know only too well. 
The 2017 premiership final, I also managed to tear my medial ligament, the scene of my most favoured and least favoured experience on the rugby pitch, all in one game. A huge rollercoaster of emotions, although whenever asked about the day, the answer is always the same, I would do it all over again to get a winner’s medal. 
Although it took a few days to recover from the eventual hangover, it took longer to get to grips with missing out on a possible Welsh cap and the the trip to Samoa and New Zealand. However, by the end of the summer I was in a better place with a solid rehab stint under my belt and some quality time spent with the family. 

Phil Dollman, Chiefs favourite and Sidmouth Rugby Club player coach

Phil Dollman, Chiefs favourite and Sidmouth Rugby Club player coach - Credit: Archant


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