This is a blog I’ve been looking forward to writing. It’s personal for me, and I know it’s something that affects plenty of disc golfers. According to this article, 80% of disc golfers have suffered an injury. Injuries are a part of any sport, disc golf is no exception.
The first thing I’ll say is that I’m not a doctor. I went to my doctor, and if you’re having persistent issues with an injury you should seek yours out. I appreciate and follow their advice, not just because it’s expensive, but because it works.
I broke my elbow a couple years ago falling down. I tried to play disc golf that next day, but the broken bone in my throwing elbow made the pain pretty unbearable, and it didn’t help my mental game that I wasn’t playing well.
So I took some time off (a couple months). I waited and tried to come back in the Fall. I played some casual rounds and practiced. But after 3 more tournaments my rating dropped 20 points and I shot the worst round of my career. I finished 11 strokes behind the second to last place at a local tournament in July of this year and couldn’t throw a forehand.
So I went back to the doctors. I thought I’d done what I needed by giving my arm time to heal. I Had the X-ray done, everything had healed correctly. So I got a Dr. of Physical Therapy to look at my arm. He confirmed it was a bad case of golfer’s elbow (Maybe if a few more of us get it we can call it disc golfer’s elbow). It didn’t help my elbow that I’d been disc golfing, doing practice putts, ball golfing, canoeing, fishing, and weight lifting during the spring and summer. I’d just been making things worse. I couldn’t work through it, it was a repetitive stress injury from my recreation.
He told me to constantly wear a wrist brace for 2 weeks (except sleeping). I went back after those two weeks and my elbow wasn’t throbbing all the time. So he told me another 8 weeks of not throwing a disc and to perform stretches every day, as well as other exercises to help strengthen my elbow.
That was 8 weeks ago. I’ve been dutiful and done my stretches each day. I missed out on peak disc golf season in Maine. And I don’t get to play a full round for 10 more weeks. The instructions were to start at 6 throws per day (10% of a round) and to build up another 10% each week. So Friday, October 22nd will be my first throw of discs in about 2.5 months.
The goal is to have me throwing 60 throws, about what I throw per round (without discomfort) in 10 more weeks. That means I’ll be back in disc golf shape on (drum roll) December 31st, 2021.
It’s highly unlikely I will meet my goal this year of shooting a 48 on the Hawk course. I’ll get a few chances to in December when I can throw that many throws, but Maine in the winter can lead to some big numbers. And I consider winter disc golf more of an excuse to get outside in the woods than anything else. I’ll move that goal to next year.
What’s the point of this blog?
I hope if you’re injured in disc golf, the way that 80% of the community seems to have had happen to them, that you get the time to rest you need.
Remember Simon Lizotte had to take a few tournaments off and couldn’t make it back until May? He only played in 12 tournaments this year.
Jessica Weese was out there throwing with her non-dominant hand in tournaments when she had a pectoral issue in the past.
Make sure that if you are hurt you take time for your body to heal. I will tell you that watching thousands of people go out and play every day, hurt a little bit of my soul. I wanted nothing more than to go out and rip my 4 mids on hole 1. Park them for birdies and get back to playing.
What am I going to do so I don’t get injured again?
This is probably the most important thing. I’m 31 so I have another 70ish disc golf years in me to look forward to. I don’t want to lose another minute of disc golf.
- I’m going to follow all the instructions from my doctor.
- Not throw “one more” even though 6 throws per day feels like nothing.
- Continue the stretches my doctor told me to do.
- Wear an elbow sleeve like Simon and Eagle.
- Take a few days off if I find that my elbow hurts again.
But I’m looking forward to returning so much. I’m going to appreciate the first tree kick, that awful sound that the band makes when your putter hits it dead on, and I’ll do a very stereotypical “Let’s go!” when I hit that first big putt.
I hope that you’re a part of the the 20% that haven’t been injured. But if you’ve joined the 80% of us who have, please take time to heal. Play some disc golf valley, caddy for a friend, or sit back on the couch and find a Jomez video you haven’t watched in a while. Disc golf will be there when you get back.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397