Let’s just get this out the way: being too committed to your sport or working out is better than the alternative. You would rather be passionate about your fitness than not interested at all, which can cause plenty of health problems and, in some cases, mental issues too. But there is a fine line between working hard to be the best you can be and overdoing it. Some people just don’t know when to say.
This can manifest itself in a couple of different ways. The first is exercise addiction, a condition that causes a person to exercise excessively and which can also have troubling side effects, such as fatigue, muscle wasting, and concentration problems, among others. Another way being too committed to their craft is when athletes continue to use their body in an activity despite suffering from a serious injury. We’re going to take a look at some of the stars who have ignored their pain and carried on in their sport.
1. Ronnie Lott
Ronnie Lott is a football player who really knows what it’s like to play with pain. In 1985, Lott and his 49ers were playing against Dallas Cowboys when his little finger was crushed in a collision with Cowboys’ Tim Newsome. Lott was stretchered off the field and transported to the nearest hospital for treatment on this serious injury…is what should have happened. But it didn’t. What actually occurred is Lott received minimal treatment before going back on. With a lot of strapping, he even played the following week. Alas, there were long-term implications for the finger – it had to be amputated a few months later.
2. Michael Jordan
Most people are struck down pretty badly by flu. They’ll stay off work, crawl into bed, and spent a few days recovering with copious amounts of soup and orange juice. They’re the rules. Only, Michael Jordan doesn’t play by the rules. In 1997, when Bulls were tied with Utah Jazz 2-2 in the NBA Finals, Jordan was suffering from flu, and he stepped up. Despite looking visibly weakened, he managed to score 38 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists – so not only did Jordan play when he probably shouldn’t have, he actually played…amazingly well. His efforts resulted in the Chicago Bulls being crowned NBA champions for that year.
3. Tiger Woods
There’s a theme here; the players who play despite being injured generally tend to be the greatest champions. Their efforts are just another manifestation of their intense determination to be the best. Three weeks before the 2008 US Open, Tiger Woods was struggling to walk. Two days after he had won the competition in spectacular fashion, Woods announced he needed surgery on the left knee that was suffering from a double stress fracture and would have to miss the rest of the year. Winning a major golf tournament is an incredible feat by itself, but with a double stress fracture? Amazing.
4. Shun Fujimoto
Determination wins again, this time in the form of an Olympic Gold Medal. Shun Fujimoto, doctors said at the time, was competing with a broken knee and should have writhing around in pain every time he moved. But he didn’t – instead, he delivered a performance that contributed to the Japan gymnastic team winning the gold medal. When he landed his dismount, Shun actually worsened his injury by dislocating his knee – he rose his hands and then collapsed. Today, Shun actually admits he only competed for the sake of his teammates and that he actually wouldn’t do it again. I suppose not all glory is worth the pain.
For some of them, it was a case of playing through the pain barrier. For others, they were at risk of doing serious longer-term damage to their bodies. The underlying principle that unites these sports stars is their willingness to put their bodies on the line in their effort to be winners. An admirable ethos, we can all agree, but not one that should be applied in all cases. If you have a chance of winning a Gold medal in the Olympics, think about it; if you’re playing basketball with your friends and break your leg, you should probably just seek medical help…
Article from Gemma Dawson.