November 15, 2011

Injury Question

Thanks coach for your book and website.  It has been tremendously helpful.

My daughter (class of 2013)  has recently discovered that she is going to need surgery on her right shoulder. (Yes, she swings with this shoulder.)  She has a small tear where the bicep connects.  The surgery seem to be fairly simple, however she is being told that the full recovery time is in the 3-4 month range which means it will cut in to her club season.  

My question is, how to approach this with recruiting.  Right now she has a couple of offers but is waiting for her dream school.  She seems to be number two on their list from what we can gather. She has an unofficial visit scheduled with this school in a couple of weeks.  Should she put it off until she has recovered?  Should she contact all of the schools that have been recruiting her and be up front about the surgery, or is it that big of a deal?  

Thank you for any advice.  Believe me, we sure need it. P.F. 

Thanks for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and website; glad to hear they have been helpful.

The shoulder injury you are describing is much better to hear than a labrum or rotator cuff injury, as these can take a solid 18 months to get back to full 'pop' on the arm swing.

I would immediately disclose the shoulder injury, the specifics of the surgery and recovery period.  The sooner you do this, the sooner that all parties can 'adjust' their tactics.  Honestly, a few schools will back off and take a 'wait and see' attitude because of the surgery.  And, a few schools will continue to move forward positively after they digest the information you provide.

As for the unofficial visit which is planned, let them take the lead on the whether or not to keep it scheduled - this may tell you where your PSA does stand with them. 

Surgeries are a big deal because there is uncertainty as each athlete will recover on their own speed, and shoulder surgeries can be a bit tricky because it is a complicated joint.  The good news is that the bicep tendon is less 'scary' than the shoulder joint itself.

One thing which I will STRONGLY advise and cannot emphasize STRONGLY enough is ABSOLUTELY do not rush back from a shoulder surgery.  Whenever I have seen players push back too quickly to get on the court with a shoulder surgery/rehab it has always ended up poorly.  They never got back to full power, they had continuous pain and often did not get back on the court full time.  I have learned the hard way with shoulders, to take the slowest possible return time, and with a traditional rotator injury, I automatically clock 16 months in my mind before I feel they will get anywhere close to where they were pre-injury.

It is almost better to just DS/Libero this club season, to keep ball control skills high, than try to get back to a power attacker because of the longer term risk.  Better to get back to 100% for high school (you are looking at a 10 month recovery right now, which honestly could be too soon!), than rush back into club and be hovering around 80% for the foreseeable future.

Sorry about the challenge ahead and just keep up the communication and outreach with the college programs!


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