Previously, I had discussed my personal injury. Unfortunately, it has kept me relatively uncompetitive for the last 3 years. I thought I had done everything the doctors and therapists said, yet here we go again.
My saga has taken a turn for the worse. It seems I have likely torn my bicep again. Not even a month into the season and here we go again for the 4th time in three years.
Doctor basically said since it’s a constantly recurring injury, they’d like me to take a whole year off or start bowling righty…
Well, if that wasn’t the most fantastic news to hear.
I guess the only way for me not to completely destroy my arm is to change my game substantially or change to a righty.
A couple of weeks ago in my sport league, about half way into game 1, I felt that well known pain again. It’s a sharp pain in the belly of the bicep. I knew my night, and maybe my season was over right then and there.
Now the silver lining. In the 30 minutes or so after I stopped and was chatting, I may have uncovered something with my team. I told my driller (Eric Deaton of StrikeMor Pro Shop) how the more relaxed I thought I was, the worse I felt. In other words, the more broken my wrist was at the start, the worse it hurt. What was happening was I was breaking my wrist, but on the downswing, I’d cock it again and come through it. That takes a lot of muscle to do. The way to visualize is to have a look at what Mike Fagan does. He has a broken wrist, and then cocks it back at the top of the backswing.
So we decided to try a Robby’s wrist brace. I used a wrist brace once in my life, for about 6 months when I was 18 when I tore some tendons in my wrist playing tennis. Never since then. The thought behind it was that if I was not able to move my wrist back and forth from broken to cocked, I might relieve some of the excessive biceps work. I went to the center a few days later before my other league to see if I had any shot at all. That afternoon, my doctor had broken the news to me but I decided to go anyway. I have learned to use very careful judgment to continue or not so I thought no harm to throw a few shots. Please do not take that as advice to ignore your doctor!
Here’s what I did. I used the brace to avoid the back and forth wrist motion. I also tried to create earlier timing. I figured if my arm would arrive a bit earlier, I wouldn’t be planting, then waiting on it, forcing it down. I also decided to keep a slight bend in my elbow and “short hinge” it. This was intentionally to avoid a fully stretched out arm at the top of the backswing, which hurts like hell due to the tear.
I threw a few shots and it didn’t really hurt. So I threw a few more. Eric was watching and he immediately said it was better than I had ever thrown the ball. Basically no muscle and no excessive movement. What I told him was that it’s happened before, I don’t put any muscle on the ball, but as I build strength back up, eventually I revert to the muscle memory. I am a quick study, but have to be watched so that I don’t revert.
I wasn’t feeling any additional pain from throwing so I decided to bowl the league, with a caveat that I would have to stop if I felt pain and I wasn’t going to score well. I made it through the night. No searing pain, but some heat in the arm. I have an existing injury and there’s always a certain amount of muscle. All the coaches want to talk about physics, pendulum swing, and no muscling. From a medical point of view though, that is not possible. Anatomically, there will absolutely be activation of the biceps muscle no matter what you do. The extent of the contraction is what you limit, the more pendulum-like you are.
The first thought of course was that this can be very promising. My swing was fluid without hitches or muscled shots. My head stayed steady at the line. That has always been the giveaway for me since it was always hard for me to tell I was muscling. If I see the head bob slightly, I know I muscled.
It wasn’t a strong night in terms of scores, but I didn’t expect anything. It was just really comforting to feel like there’s a possibility to continue my bowling career. If I could bowl that way in a state of a torn bicep, then there’s no reason why I couldn’t do it when I’m healthy. I’ll just need to work on it to gain some accuracy with the different timing and shorter backswing.
I will be meeting Lou Marquez of Turbo in Detroit to have a detailed evaluation. At this stage, I clearly need to revamp my game if I plan to have any career…or a functioning arm for that matter. Lou is one of the best.
Will post another update after I visit Lou!