sports-injuriesOften athletes are forced to face the age-old question that we faced during those first fateful days of football practice (before the days of sue-happy parents and concussion scares): Are you hurt, or are you injured? For the uninitiated, the question merely asks whether the malady you happen to be facing will prevent you from competing, or if it will only be a mere nuisance. I definitely recall football and rugby trainers and coaches asking me that question on several occasions throughout my more violent sporting years, but it’s a question we certainly need to reexamine as we dust off the shoes for the big race in our now infinite adult wisdom.

Obviously the first step in determining the answer to this question is assessing the injury: can you still run with that broken finger?  I’d like to think so, but if not, we’ll address that in a different column called “Quit Being Such a Sissy.”  However, when dealing with the sprained ankles–or in more severe cases  “important” broken bones, we need to take time to weigh the overall effect continued training may have on your body.

Will a few days of rest make it better?  Will training through the injury cause any potential long-term damage?  Are you days away from that Bucket List race and you’ll struggle through no matter what?  Are you okay with the fact that your race day performance might not be up to your standard if you choose to continue with your competition?

These are the questions you have to ask (preferably with the aid of a sports doctor) in order to answer the question.  Chances are, if you’re like me, you’ll already have a pretty decent idea how your “hurt or injured” question should be answered, and only you can be the final say in the matter.

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