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Guest Gangster: The Mental Journey in Recovering from Injury

By Alex @dangergayskater (Instagram)

Hi, my name’s Alex. I'm a 22-year-old trans masculine non-binary skater from London. Although I have been skating on and off since I was seven, last year I started to dedicate more of my time to quad skating and, well, I've not looked back! (Aside from to track progress and to laugh at me falling on my rear end).

Photo credit: IG @samuel_hicks_


You may get seriously injured as a skater doing what you love because skating is an extreme sport. Equally you may end up needing to take time off skates due to non skate-related surgeries or injuries. In my case, within the past year I’ve had three broken bones, yet didn’t take the full time off for two of them. It was not my finest hour (barely allowing a month to pass) before skating again, but the most recent bone break was my ankle. Unsurprisingly I was forced to take time off because I wasn’t allowed to bear weight on it for a month, which was *mildly* frustrating. In the next month I’m going to have surgeries for my transition which will again take me off skates for up to four months depending on how recovery goes.

People talk frequently about the physical side of recovery but never the mental side. Re-learning to walk let alone skate can be the most emotionally exhausting thing, as you see your skates hung up while you’re having those Zoom appointments. The fear of missing out gets real while Summer creeps up on you. You logically know there will be in theory endless summers (in years to come) but in the moment you lack logic and think, “Frick this will never happen again.” It will. You’ll reach the dreams of landing those waltz jumps and living your best life playing roller derby if that's what you want. When you’re injured or recovering from surgery then please know your time will come to return to skates and you’ll be stronger than before (both mentally and physically); when you’re a skater it is hard being physically unable to skate. Be gentle with your mental health, take a mental health break from social media if that preserves or helps your wellbeing. Lay out boundaries with people who aren’t helping your wellbeing- be selfish because you cannot help others as much as you’d love to when you’re struggling. Reach out to people.

Mel here at Roller Girl Gang has been a person who offered time and emotional energy when I’ve needed someone because stuff gets rough and she understood what I was going through.

Photo credit: IG @samuel_hicks_

Reminder: it is going to be challenging. Reaching out to access therapy can be beneficial because the first time you return to skates is going to be terrifying. For me, the first twenty minutes or so when I laced my skates up for the first time since breaking my fibula was the most difficult. One of my now roller derby coaches skated by my side to remind me that absolutely yes, my body can do it and they helped me to learn to trust myself again. Please do not return to skating before your care teams have cleared you to do so, I did that with my ankle and ended up partially tearing my Achilles so it was pain central and another three weeks on crutches.

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1 Comment

Angel Storm
Angel Storm
Jul 18, 2021

That was really thought provoking and timely for me. I sprained my wrist and even though its a minor injury, it affected my mental health a little bit...self doubts crept in during the week and I have also has that feeling of missing out.

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