What’s your story – Embracing an injury
A serious injury threatens Megan Gregoire's gymnastics career.
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Sitting on the sidelines of her favorite hobby wasn’t easy for sophomore Megan Gregoire, but with a serious back injury, she was forced to only watch her fellow gymnasts working hard, instead of being able to participate like always.
Gregoire, who has been a gymnast for most of her life, fractured her back during February of 2015 while at a competition and looks back at her back injury as the worst moment of her life, due to the fact that it enabled her to do the things she loved.
Practicing just like at the other multiple competitions she has been in throughout the many years of competing, Gregoire felt something wrong at this particular gymnastics meet.
“I was on [the] floor warming up before I had to compete and after my tumbling pass, I had a very sharp pain,” said Gregoire. “I knew I had did something to my back.”
Gregoire’s pain didn’t fade and the doctors declared it was only a pulled muscle, but she knew it couldn’t be true.
“I had pain the rest of the meet, and when I woke up the next morning, my lower back was swollen,” said Gregoire. “When I went to the doctors the first time, they had pretty much just ignored it.”
During the month of May, Gregoire was sick of the pain her back was causing her. Although she didn’t know exactly what happened to her back, she knew there had to be an answer for what it was.
“After 3 months had gone by, I went to a back doctor and he instantly told me he thought I had fractured it,” said Gregoire. “After I had the bone scan done, they had called me during school saying that it was fractured.”
Sitting at her desk at school, her heart dropped when she received the call about her injury and thought that her gymnastics career might actually be over.
Friend and fellow gymnast, sophomore Julia Pearl was injured at the same time as Gregoire and admits that Megan’s absence affected her because she is her closest friend at the gym.
“Well for the most part, I was hurt when she was hurt too,” said Pearl. “But I guess it was definitely quieter around the gym when she wasn’t there.”
Not only did Gregoire have to spend multiple hours a day in a back brace and missing gymnastics, but she also missed out on yearly summer activities that she enjoys while on break from school.
“It affected my lifestyle by putting me in a back brace for three months and not being able to wear certain types of clothes,” said Gregoire. “It limited me by not being able to do gymnastics for five months and my summer activities such as swimming.”
Pearl agrees that although Gregoire’s injury may affect some things, she is still as good of a gymnast as she was before her break.
“It may have changed the way she can do her skills now,” said Pearl. “She might have to be more careful with doing stuff with her back, but she’s just as good as she was before.”
What hit Gregoire the hardest throughout her injury was the fact that she wouldn’t be able to do the activity that she has spent so many hours doing over the years.
“Gymnastics is very important to me because I’ve been doing it for 11 years,” said Gregoire. “It means a lot to me because it’s what I grew up doing, and without it I feel like something in my life is missing.”
Watching her teammates only made Gregoire miss it more and she would often find herself wishing she was able to be out on the floor.
“During those five months I would always have the urge to do it,” said Gregoire. “I would go to practice, watch my teammates, and feel lost since I was unable to do practice with them.”
Not only did her back brace affect her with activities, but because of the size it also affected her ability to breathe.
“The back brace was fitted to my body so it was very tight,” said Gregoire. “I often had a hard time breathing. It also pushed against my ribs and when it was very hot, it gave me heat rash.”
Knowing that she could worsen her injury, Gregoire kept her distance from the gym.
“I tried to stay away from the gym as much as I could,” said Gregoire. “I knew if I was there I would end up doing something I shouldn’t.”
Finally back to be doing what she loves, Gregoire is ecstatic that her days of sitting on the side are over and has learned to cherish her moments on the mat.
“It feels really good to back and I’m glad I’m out of my back brace,” said Gregoire. “Since it was my first injury, I realized that I shouldn’t take what I can do for granted since one day it could all go away.”