I was tremendously disappointed when I got hurt. Sure, that kind of thing can and does happen all the time. But when it happens to you in your first year as a pro player, it can be devastating. My wife and my teammates certainly helped keep my spirits up. As soon as I was able, I came to Halas Hall on a regular basis and attended team meetings. That way, even though I was not actually out there on the playing field, I had some idea what was going on.
No matter what position you are playing, you don't want any type of a bad injury. A wrist may not seem that important as a defensive player, you need to rely on arm strength just as much as leg strength. You aren't going to be able to stop anybody if you can't grab hold of them.
As you may remember, I was hurt in Champaign last September. The team ambulance had to take me back to Chicago for immediate treatment. That seemed like a very long ride at the time. We went right to the hospital and I was taken care of immediately. You always need to pay attention to an injury like that. It's important to get right on it so things turn out well.
I ended up with a sling, then with a wrist cast. It wasn't too bad once I got used to it, but it would have been a lot better not to have needed a cast at all. Even before the cast was removed, I was back with the strength training coaches working on my routines. They were able to devise exercises for me that made the most of what I was able to do. I worked on leg strength by using weights. Now I am able to use ten-pound wrist weights as well. My forearm is a little stiff but I definitely feel that the strength is coming back.
The training staff has instituted some new routines for us this year, at least during the pre season period. We are doing karate and yoga. I'm not in karate yet, but I find the yoga helpful. It's interesting that a bunch of guys you would expect to be able to do just about anything physically are having trouble getting use to yoga. That tells me that this is definitely something we all need. What will it do? Give us flexibility. This can be important in preventing injuries throughout the season.
I believe that karate has been added for quickness. It should also help with concentration and reaction time. It will be interesting to see how this changes our abilities by the time training camp rolls around.
Starting March 24 we will be having regular workouts at Halas Hall four days a week. Everybody has returned from their off-season homes. It's good to get together with them again. I think spirits are high. You can be certain that nobody wants a repeat of what happened to the team last year.
To say that there have been a lot of changes within the team would be an understatement. Since I've played, quite a few regular players have left and many new teammates have come in. There will be a process of learning how we work together. It's important to establish communication now so it is effortless later during the games.
I haven't met Kordell Stewart yet but I have heard good things about him. The draft is coming up and we do expect some future impact players to come out of that.
All in all, I am very excited about the upcoming season. I felt that I was making good progress last year and it was incredibly difficult to sit out for so many of the games. I Just want to be back out there on the field.
Beth Gorr contributed to this article