The worst thing that can happen to any athlete is an injury. No matter how severe the injury may or may not be, it can prove to be a major setback for the athlete. Some guys tweak an ankle and are perfectly fine, others may suffer devastating ligament tears.
Injuries are prevalent, they will happen! However, it’s all about how well you treat your body and how much damage you can take. For instance, NFL icon Peyton Manning—a living legend who is still playing to this day—had a major neck surgery a few years back. With an amazing streak of games started, Manning would miss an entire season!
He soon left his team at the time, the Indianapolis Colts, and joined the Denver Broncos. The result since returning from a neck surgery? Manning has kept his name in the top quarterback discussion and has transformed Denver into arguably the best team in the NFL!
There have been countless athletes who suffered an injury at a young age—former NBA player, Sam Bowie, for example—and never recovered. Suffering multiple broken legs, Bowie faded away while the man he was drafted ahead of, Michael Jordan became the best ever. In this article you can learn about propper injury prevention for BJJ and how to treat those potential injuries.
It varies, to a degree, but how can we maintain our bodies for BJJ? Better yet, how can older grapplers preserve their bodies?
Grapple Smart…Not Hard
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and wanting to grapple life the Gold is on the line. For older grapplers, a good way to prevent major injuries is to eliminate certain parts of the sport totally from your game!
Why, you ask?
Think of it this way; if you’re well into your 40’s with a bad knee or sore hip, are you going to rely heavily on your butterfly guard to win you matches? Of course not! All that will do is add unneeded pressure and stress to an already aching joint, so why bother?
Just because you aren’t throwing out these fancy setups doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective grappler! Remember, grapple smart, not hard! I interviewed top BJJ black belts over the age of 40 and this is what they had to say on protecting your body and different stratagies. Included in that list of top black belts over 40 I interviewed was Michio Grubbs and our interview can be viewed below in the video.
The idea of “grappling smart” will also help preserve energy and will allow you to grapple longer, which obviously plays into your favor. You don’t want to get gassed, do you!?
Protecting Your Body
This may seem like an obvious statement for a sport where the objective is to quite literally rip your opponent limb-from-limb, but it’s a good one. Certain parts of your body—arms, for example—are susceptible almost always.
However, you are able to protect and keep good care of two very vital body parts: you head & neck! No matter what age you are, everyone needs to protect their noggin! However, as we get older and our body slows down a bit, the chances of serious injury increases, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
There are many ways older grapplers can protect themselves, but these are some nice starting points. Hopefully these helped and you can maintain your grappling ability for years to come!