Can You Return To Roller Derby After A Knee Injury?

If you've recently suffered damage to your ACL, meniscus, or other connective tissue within your knee as a result of roller derby, you may be dismayed at the thought of sitting out a season and antsy to return to your sport. However, many orthopedists will recommend against a return to contact derby, even after your knee heals, due to the risk of a further disabling injury. If you're not yet ready to retire, what are your options? Read on to learn more about skating in a way to minimize the risk of further knee damage, as well as some options that can allow you to remain on-skates even after you hang up your jammer or pivot cap.

What can you do to minimize the risk of knee injuries as a derby skater?

Whether or not you've had surgery to correct your injury, physical therapy before returning to the rink is a must. After an injury, you'll need time to heal as well as an opportunity to build up the surrounding muscle to minimize the risk of further injury. Although you may opt to take part in off-skate practices with your team (always with the prior permission of your orthopedist), you'll want to avoid any contact until you've been cleared by your physician.

Even after you've returned to physical contact with other skaters, you'll want to focus on strengthening your hits from your hips and shoulders, rather than relying on your knees to absorb the shock from a low hit or lunge. Because jammers can often fall victim to the biggest and heaviest hits, you may want to consider moving to a blocker position if you've previously suffered injury as a jammer.

What are your other skating options if contact is a bad idea?

If you've suffered multiple knee injuries or fractures that leave you unable to ever return to active contact, you may want to consider refereeing or serving as a non-skating official (NSO) for your team or other area teams. Refs can often be paid for their participation in bouts, and you'll still get to be on skates and in an active bout without risking injury or disability in the process. If you'd like to stay in the game for the long term, you may want to consider becoming certified as a referee through one of the national sanctioning organizations so that you'll be more highly sought-after as a visiting ref. To learn more, speak with someone like Associates In Orthopedics & Sports Medicine PC.