Sometimes success is more a matter of the inches you gain, rather than the miles you hope to achieve.
This has certainly been the case for Dr Bryan. In what has been an arduous and challenging road, Dr Bryan has not only regained the use of his knee but also returned to sporting form, gaining a place on the Elite-Level Inline Hockey Team GB roster.
The clock has been ticking since February, when Bryan was told that he’d been selected to play for Team GB at the upcoming World Masters Championships, which takes place the first week of June in Bolzano, Italy. This was, of course, on the proviso that he could get fit and healthy in time to play at that level.
He said: “Since I found out, I knew it was going to be a tight timeline to hit. While my knee has been improving slowly and steadily, the gains have been small from week to week and month to month, and I have simply had to commit the necessary time and effort, while overcoming a variety of aches, pains and even a few setbacks.
“But here I am, with less than 5 weeks to the tournament, and feeling quite confident that I will get there in one piece and hopefully be able to make a significant contribution to the Team’s success this year.”
Confidence & motivation
“I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. Recovering from this injury, and a bad surgical outcome last year, has been very tough for me. There have been times I have doubted myself and my ability to recover, and yet each month I have been able to reflect on the month previous and see clearly that things have improved.
“While I don’t think I’ll reach 100% in time for the Worlds this year, I do think I’ll get there at about 75%, which should still allow me to compete well and make a strong contribution. And I really have to be happy with that given where I was this past year and how bad things actually were in the autumn when I could barely bend my knee or walk on my leg.”
Bryan’s spirits were definitely lifted in early March, when he attended his first 3-hour GB training session:
“Not only did that session go pretty well, but I was also selected as a Team Captain, which really boosted my mindset and provided me with both the confidence and motivation to crack on with my strengthening and rehabilitation.
“Only two weeks earlier, I had gone out for my first ice hockey skate, and had been very sore afterward. My confidence was running low and I worried that the knee would not recover. So it was something of a breakthrough to get to that GB session and to feel much stronger and more capable.
“This past weekend I played my first two competitive league games with a local team from South London, and I am pleased to say they went pretty well. Despite taking it easy, I managed to compete fairly well and even score a few goals. Most importantly, I have succeeded in getting this far without re-injury or a major setback.”
The fight pays off
When asked how his experience of injury and recovery has influenced how he sees his work as a Chiropractor, Dr Bryan had this to say:
“Look, I really think there are a couple of simple rules when it comes to recovering from anything. And I have huge respect and admiration for the power of the human body to heal and recover when given the right conditions to do so.
“In my experience both as a doctor and an athlete, the common thread and starting point for all those who wish to recover from anything, is that first and foremost you have to believe you can get better in order to get better. That is simply a pre-requisite and universal law when it comes to healing.
“Second, and just as crucially, you have to be willing to fight for it. It is hard work, sometimes painful, and often a path with setbacks to overcome, but I know first hand, and I have seen time and again in my practice with patients, that perseverance – that “fight” – pays off.
“At numerous points in this process, I have had that same thought. I have clearly understood that the function of my leg, even the function of my body and mind, hangs in balance. When you understand that, can you really give up? Whenever I have been sore or discouraged, I have simply reminded myself that I am fighting for my leg, and it has made it easier to push on and keep going.”
“In my practice, at any given time, I always have a few challenging cases – those with a stubborn pain, a longstanding injury, or perhaps recovering from an illness or significant health crisis of some sort.
“One of the first things I always ask someone is what do they hope to achieve, mainly because the answer usually tells me whether someone is keen to fight for their health and wellbeing or, more negatively, that they lack belief and are prone to giving up easily. Simply put, if your body is not doing what you want it to do, you have to be willing to fight to get better.
“As much as anything else that I may do with a patient, one of the most important things is to inspire and motivate. As Chiropractors, we are here to discover what is wrong, to teach the patient, and to both tell and show them what a body is capable of.
“In doing so, we aim to instil that belief and uncover the ‘fight’ that exists in all of us to persevere towards a positive state of pain-free living, optimum health and wellbeing.”