T Nation

How Do Pros Recover So Quickly?


Hi All,
I noticed professional athletes break a bone or sprain an ankle and shortly thereafter they are playing again while the average person is still sitting on the couch complaining of pain.

What's the secret? Are they superhuman? Is the medical care given beyond what is given to an average person? Are they forced to play and do they play in pain?

Just curious. Any websites around that explain the rehab process for these individuals?



The have access to the best medical professionals, rehab, etc.

They're job is to play. So, if they can't play due to injury, they can spend more time than a regular person rehabbing.

Of course, they often play not at 100%, whether it's toughing it out, or taking cortizone (IIRC) injections to numb the pain.

I'm sure there are some things I'm missing, but it's a start.


You have to ask nicer than that if you want other people to do your homework for you.


I'd have to say, first to make it to the pros, the athelete is above the average in physical shape and capability. Since they have been doing this for years, (high school, college,) they are more resistant to injury than most, and have a natural recovery ability. It would be hard to argue genetics and conditioning do not play a key role.
They have access to state of the art, cutting edge and often experimental forms of prehab, rehab and recovery. Teams have full time trainers, doctors, surgeons, massage experts, physical therapists, etc, whose only job is to make sure that the athelete is healthy. Resources are virtually unlimited. They get treatments that us common folk have hardly heard of; oxygen therapy, hypobaric (sp?) chambers, and who knows about the drugs.
Top level atheletes are not always fully recovered. These guys play with pain. I would guess it is a mixture of pain killers, toughness and the almighty dollar that keeps them going.
Well, those are just my theories. I'm no expert, so I am open to flames and arguements.


I think you are on the ball here. The only thing that I would add as well is time. Without 'standard' 40 hours per week jobs many pro's generally have a lot more time to devote to active recovery, seeking out alternate recovery methods and rest.


Many of those guys retire with severe injuries that will limit their mobility for the rest of their lives. Corticosteroids and pain killers can decrease pain in joints and allow them to keep playing in spite of an injury. That doesn't mean they aren't injured or that they aren't making the injury worse by playing on it. The general attitude is this is what they are played to do. No one cares if they can't walk well by the age of 45 because they will at least have some money to fall back on.


The Canadian track and field team used Winstrol on their injured (and non-injured) athletes in the 1980s (ie; Ben Johnson).

I'd be very surprised if pro teams were any different.


I've heard (though I would be interested to see how effective it is) that at one point a few years ago the popular thing was to sit in a room full of O2. Expensive, and I doubt this is the answer you are looking for, but I present it for discussion nonetheless.


Pretty please with sugar on top.........


Oxygen won't do shit for pain or sprained, strained, or fractured joints and bones.


...but GH will. :wink:


That was my thinking... However, it would be interesting to see the effects...