Friday, August 23, 2013

High Ankle Sprains

It looks like your Minnesota Golden Gopher football season is over before it even began.  According to Nate Sandell , highly touted (well, locally anyway) freshman Berkley Edwards sprained his ankle Wednesday in practice, and word is out that it is the dreaded high ankle sprain.  Recovery time is expected to be between four weeks and Hillary Clinton taking office.  In reality it's not uncommon for an athlete to miss up to six weeks.

Doomsayers on GopherIllustrated are already calling for a redshirt for the fleet and powerfully-built Edwards, and of course some have resorted to the "we're snakebit" maxim, in spite of the fact that there's not a college football program in existence that wouldn't love a freshman's high ankle sprain to be the worst injury it incurred during fall practice.  Meanwhile, I want to know why, when I played sports in high school and college, I never once experienced another player spraining his ankle high.  Perhaps I should re-phrase that.  Nor do I know if I myself have ever experienced a high ankle sprain.  You would think so, since I've severely sprained one ankle or the other at least ten times, and that doesn't count all the mild sprains I taped up and played through or that ended my day but allowed me back the next.  I've probably sprained my ankle to some degree twenty-five times, and the longest recovery I ever had, even using crutches for a week, was ten days.  I once sprained my ankle on a beautiful top-of-the-key jump shot during a Monday practice my senior year, and while the ball was swishing through the net, I was screaming in pain.  I missed the two games that week, and the coach wasn't happy about the second one.

So either I've never had a high ankle sprain or whatever we called it back in the 80s, or we fought through them more quickly back then.  I remember a high school friend who'd severely sprained his ankle in football practice one week receiving a novacaine shot to play Friday night, even though he hadn't walked for the two days in between.  We must have had the regular sprains.  The scores of people I've seen must of all had the regular sprains.  And then suddenly in the 1990s, we only hear about high ankle sprains.  This makes some sense, I guess, since truly most people who do have regular sprains play through them more often than not.  While I was screaming horizontally on the court or gridiron every time I had a severe sprain, athletes today do the one thing we were told never to do: put immediate weight on the ankle.  Apparently, we were told, putting pressure on the ankle hinders recovery, but in the moment it does allow you to continue playing, and that's today's trend.  I eventually found the cure for my sprains.  I learned to tape my ankles like a trainer would.

So I guess the answer is that we just don't hear about the regular sprains anymore, and that what we now call high ankle sprains we probably had another name for back in the dark ages, back when we thought this was cool.  As I read more carefully, Wikipedia says the high ankle sprain is when one rolls the ankle on the inside.  Ouch!  I can say that because I know exactly what that feels like.  I did that once on a rebound.

I was back in a week.

Join me Monday for my next post.  The Twins are an afterthought these days, so it's a good time to concentrate on Gopher Football.

I am Twinstalker.  Don't let the E.D. in front of the name fool you.  It's Twinstalker, and I don't care where you split the name, after the n or after the s.  I'm trying, once again, to start blogging.  It's hard, it really is.  It's hard to blog, and it's f'ing ridiculous to blog well.  From the little I've attempted, I've learned a few tidbits that make it easier to try this one more time.  I guess I'll list them in no particular order:

  • Feed the beast.  That's what John Bonnes called it one night over his sixth Guinness at Bryant Lake Bowl. A blog really cannot work without entries.  Shocker, huh?  Sounds simple, but the single most difficult aspect of blogging is finding the time and energy to write what even you consider interesting material.
  • Blog on a set schedule.  Writing an entry every day is extremely difficult, but you need consistency both for yourself and your imagined audience.  Every weekday or specific days during the week is best.  This will be really difficult for me, as I am more apt to get my material from my comments on other blogs, which I read haphazardly.
  • Find your voice.  There are many issues with my first attempts at blogging, but the foremost one for me is that I could never find my writing voice.  In other words, what persona will you take on?  I post on Gopher Illustrated quite often, and my persona there ranges from philosopher to cynic to the anti-fan because, as one example, I've never found anything good to say about Rashede Hageman's play.  But at least it's a voice.
  • Somehow make your blog unique.  The last thing you need to waste your time at is doing something that someone else already does.  Many bloggers are unique simply because they possess the tool of information.  Others do very fine analysis.  I hope I can eventually find that which makes this blog unique.
Mostly what I do here in this blog is find fault with decision-making.  I am an advanced-degreed statistician who has studied game theory, and it blows my mind how horrible the decision-making can be from people around here who get paid millions to make decisions.  Terry RyanRon GardenhireTubby SmithFlip Saunders, and many others have made and continue to make some of the worst decisions one can imagine.  How's that for hyperbole?  It's no coincidence that sports in this town have basically been crap.  Teams that should be competitive are not, teams that are somewhat competitive should be winning championships--I'm looking at you, Twins org c. 2002-2010.  It's hard to believe we've stayed fans all this time.  Some things are changing, though, and when I look at the sports leadership now installed at the University of Minnesota, I get genuinely excited.  They get it now.  There are still likely some issues, but the decision-making from President Kaler to A.D. Norwood Teague to coaches Kill and Pitino is light years above the old regime.  That's a start, and I'm looking forward to a sports renaissance in this town. 

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