T Nation

Broken Leg: Help

Fellow T-nationers,

I’m not sure where to start. First, I feel like shit. I just needed to put that out there. I guess I’ll start with my background and then explain what happened and where it left me.

I recently turned twenty one years old, and after four years of hard training under Thibadeau, Waterbury, and Polliquin training I felt like I was really getting somewhere. I’ve been seriously bulking for the past year and a half and put on some serious mass over the summer.

I packed three sandwiches for work a day, cooked myself breakfast and lunch there, ate immediately after and, well, my life revolved around eating. I got up to 225 at 6’0. My states were a 450 pound deadlift, a 290 pound flat bench, almost twenty straight chin-ups, etc.

I finally was getting the look I wanted: traps that bulged through my t-shirt, a thick, prominent chest, very thick quads and hamstrings in the making. I was wider and thicker than I ever was. My girlfriend loved it, I loved it, and fellow gym rates noticed my gains.

I was dedicated; it was a large part of my life and even at the miss of one gym day I felt “lazy” and “weak.” I foresaw cutting in about nine months; I was finally going to achieve a solid, cut physique. My girlfriend was always complimenting me on how good I looked naked, and no guys I’m not trying to toot my own horn or sound shallow, I’m just giving you an idea of the esteem lifting gave me and some of the unforseen benefits.

I lifted for strength, for size, and it resulted in a strong presence. People always noticed I had a certain presence wherever I was. I don’t know if this was due to my size, but I know some of it can be attributed to my personality.

That said two weeks ago from today I was injured in a rugby game. One guy went in for a high-tackle, slowing me down, while another went straight for a tackle just below my knees. I heard a snap that sounded like a gun-shot; everyone heard it.

I looked down to see the bottom half of my shin limp, dangling from my upper calf, but no puncture. My foot was facing the wrong way, completely left. I went to stand on it and fell down; I started screaming for Mother Theresa. I had broken my fibula in two places and my tibula in one.

Now, I lay on a couch all day, almost completely immobile. I went from deadlifting to doing Jane Fonda like exercises. I can barely make it to my car on crutches and I can feel my muscle atrophying and whithering away. I’m now pale as fuck, in need of a haircut, and without my passion.

I expressed my sentiment about lifting to my girlfriend and she replied “well, at least it payed off temporarily.” Fuck that. Is there a bright side? Can I get my strength back? Can I be stronger than I was? Be honest.

Lastly, since my appetite has decreased to that of a pidgeons and depression is setting in, when I lose weight will it be both fat and muscle? Will the loss make me look just skinny and rounded, like someone who never lifted a weight, or will my muscle that I had beneath some excess fat start to show through, as if I were cutting?

Someone please help, I need some motivation, but be honest.


Vincent Barr

You’ll gain it back a lot faster than you put in on. It’s amazing what muscles can remember in just 3 months of getting back to the gym. First things first though. You have to work on getting flexibility back before you lift heavy again.

There is only a window of time within which to do this and get back to where you were flexibility-wise. Don’t waste it.

Good luck.

BTW, no one says you can’t continue to work your upper body. You may need assistance on loading weights but that teaches humility. There is good in almost every tragedy. :slight_smile:

The feelings that you are having are normal a couple weeks after being forced off your feet. Bones heal, you’ll be in the gym later, just keep your chin up and continue your upper body workouts.
For a little hope and motivation, my friend broke his neck 2 years ago and is back to deadlifting 600. From partially paralyzed to nearly back to full strength. Hope that makes you feel better.

Sounds like a nasty break. I can totally empathise with you at the moment. Four weeks ago I broke my right arm playing rugby, I fractured my raduis and dislocated my ulnar (a nasty combination that I later learned is called a galleazzi fracture). I too heard that gut wrenching snap as the bone breaks, half my forearm was hanging at 90 degrees to the other half. I had surgery that night and now have a metal plate holding my radius together.

Anyway, since I was discharged from hospital I have tried to see this as an opportunity (since I’m off work too). Subsequently I have been training my legs almost every day using a quad/hamstring/calves split. In addition, I have found I can perform certain upper body exercises (pec dec, reverse flyes using the pec dec, hise shrugs and unilateral work). So my advice would be, keep training, do whatever you can, even if it dosen’t yield that much physical benefit, psychologically it does you the world of good. Even if you can’t get to the gym you can do 3-point push ups variations, chin/pull ups, or get some DBs and do seated presses, shrugs, cleans, good mornings, lat raises, curls etc… Anything, the most important thing is to stay motivated, try and eat a little cleaner and plan your come back!!

Stay strong.

I feel your pain! 13 months ago I dislocated and broke my left ankle. 3 surgeries later all the screws were finally removed.

I missed 1 week from the gym which was just after the injury. After that I was crutching myself around the gym and doing what I could. Those machines in the gym are good for something :slight_smile: Obviously free weights are out but you have to stay active somehow. If you can barely crutch yourself to the car then take that as a challenge and keep doing it. It will only make you stronger. Also really watch your diet and make sure everything you put in your mouth is quality fuel.

Today I am 212lbs. I can run if I have to, my bench is a solid 450lbs and my DL and squat is higher than it has ever been. It can be done but it takes a ton of work and patience. Still to this day I can still notice changes in my ankle (for the better) and it’s been over a year.

Also you may want to consult with a strength coach for advice. I hired Eric Cressey and it’s worth every single dime!

Good luck and don’t get discouraged. If you give up mentally you’ll dig yourself a hole that you may never get out of. Stay positive, do what you can and it will all come back.