In this conclusion of our two-part series on injury prevention, Dr. Bruce Fulford of the Alphabiotic Balance center explains how a freak bodysurfing accident changed his outlook on life, health and the importance of injury prevention.
On July 7th, 2013 I was bodysurfing in great conditions in Santa Monica when a wave lifted me up and slammed me violently on my head and I broke my neck in three places. Thank God I had friends to pull me out of the water as it knocked me out. I've been a lifelong surfer and nothing like this had ever happened to me before. Breaking C1 and C2 is a hangman's fracture that often kills on impact. When I went to my neurologist, the x-rays showed clean breaks, and neither vertebra was offset. I was healing without the usually recommended halo screwed into the skull (yikes!!). He was (as I am) convinced that because I stay structurally aligned and strong, my outcome was a very different one.
Dr. Fulford's lesson is a very important one. "My reason for this blog is to encourage all you athletes, surfers, extreme sports enthusiasts and even the not-so-crazy people to take care of yourselves," he writes. His back exercises, neck exercises and other injury prevention methods proved to be an excellent investment of his time. "Find something that works for you, and maintain your health," Fulford writes. "You don't just go to the gym once a month to build muscle, you incorporate a plan and stick to it. Our nervous systems are exactly the same."
Just as Dr. Fulford experienced, a steady practice of injury prevention methods (alignment, stretching, exercises, etc.) will do wonders for you in the long run, no matter what sport you love.