Maybe some were on steroids and didn't need it as there bodies recovered twice as fast.
I was reminded of my sporting days this morning as someone messaged me asking how to get the stiffness out of their hamstrings. This is not a nice feeling and one that I woke up with every Sunday morning after a Saturday afternoon match. Climbing out of bed and hobbling to the toilet used to be rather painful and only eased as the day progressed. Going to the shops on a Sunday morning people used to look at you strangely all beaten up and walking funny. It honestly looked as though you had been in some drunken brawl the night before.
It is strange as when you are playing a contact sport like rugby you have no clue besides the obvious what injuries you are picking up during the game. If you are walking somewhere and stub your toe there is obvious pain, but playing a contact sport it is masked by the adrenaline. You honestly don't know until much later.
The obvious injuries like breaking a bone you feel or blood dripping down into your face from a head wound, but the grass burns and bruises sustained from contact with the ground or other players you don't. This may sound crazy but you don't as you are focused on the moment and everything is kind of blocked out.
The players that used to get injured were the ones that were not committed mentally and were worried about getting injured. It is like golf when you arrive at a water hole and it plays on your mind. No matter what you do the ball is going in the water as it has taken over your thoughts.
The only time we knew we had done any damage was when we hit the showers after the match. The water and soap used to sting where you had no skin and your body used to come alive. Parts you thought were mud were not washing away so well and they turned out to be bruises. The pain goes away though until the following morning when you are reminded rather rudely when you try and walk.
I did get away lightly compared to others I see every now and again. Most of them walk with a limp or in a manner that they are hiding something else. I have what looks like a third boob, but in reality it is a broken rib that didn't heal quite right and scar tissue built up around it. Strange to know I rack my brains and can only think of one time it possibly happened as I had no idea.I thought ribs were meant to be painful so obviously mot all ribs.
The one injury I had that stands out wasn't a broken ankle but a stupid grass burn on my hip. Roughly a 2 inch graze that was fairly deep and never healed for most of the season. It didn't get a chance to heal as it opened up at least two or three times a week. I at one point poured 100 percent proof alcohol on it to dry it out and couldn't take the pain no more. It was like being stabbed with a blade.
Waking up on a Sunday not being able to walk was a pleasurable experience sometimes as within an hour of warming up your muscles and hamstrings you felt energised again. Your body recovers and heals so quickly that only parts that are still inflamed now are your concern. Most sportsmen just live with things that are not quite right and worry about them when their careers are over.
These days players have recovery sessions the day after a match and I had never heard of that or it would have been a thing back then. Sports science has moved to improve the athletes of today and they are fortunate to have the knowledge now. It may seem obvious, but it wasn't obvious to me to go and do more training whilst hobbling around. We never had a cool down and recovery period which was probably what we should have done directly after the game.
I have thought during this period of lock down how many sportsmen have gone under the knife to fix ailments that they would normally have just lived with.Possibly missing a season or most of a season has extended their careers by more than the time they have lost recently.