I have played football my whole life, and ended up playing D-1 college football as well. Needless to say, I have a very real understanding of the toll football takes on your body. I have had multiple broken bones, dislocations, torn muscles, strained muscles, tendon injuries, a concussion, more contusions then I could ever count, and jammed ever joint I have. A lot of the strain my body took in college I believe was escalated due to the weight (body) changes my coaches would ask of me season to season. One season I was asked to gain 40 lbs (which I did successfully), and then told to drop 20 in the offseason. After football I did amateur competitive power lifting and strong man competitions. I am 6'1 and weighed 250. At my prime I bench pressed 450 lbs and squated over 700 lbs. The human body is not meant to do this, and eventually it gave out, I tore my quad with 600 lbs on my back (right were it connects to the knee) and a month later did the same to my chest. I have recovered fully, and lift VERY conservatively now but am concerned I have done permanent damage to my body. I am 24 years old, both my knees make terrible popping noises that can be seen and felt (by me or anyone that puts their hand on my knee) everytime they are bent. The knee (quad) that was injured is especially bad and gets extremely stiff from time to time. The only other recurring ailment is my shoulder, which has similar symptoms. This is due to an injury to my bicep tendon.
I guess I am asking if this should be a major concern? Will it get worse if I take care of myself going forward? Should I be seeking treatment (arthritis, etc)? Thanks in advance, I appreciate any advice offered.
PS - I have NEVER taken any drugs or supplements (outside of multivitamins, and LOTS of protein shakes).
The stress that you have placed on the body at a young age is quite extreme however it does not mean you have made permanent damage necessarily. Will certain aspects of your youth in sports play a rule, absolutely. Increased body weight and heavy lifting impacts compressive forces on the muscles and joints. Weight loss may help to alleviate some of the stresses on the joints and moderate resistance training will help to strengthen the stabilizers of every joint. With ligament injuries they never are quite as tight as they once were creating stability in the joint so you now must rely on the surrounding muscles to compensate. Regular exercise with correct technique is crucial in order to prevent arthritis an overuse injuries associated with sports and heavy lifting. For the joints that are particularly troublesome it may be beneficial to seek out an orthopedist to see what is present now in order to prevent further injury and early onset of joint degeneration before it sets in, especially since you have youth on your side at only age 24. For any other questions concerns feel free to comment again.
Since playing football and competing with weight lifting I have lost most of the weight. I am 6'1 and a little over 200 lbs (maybe 210). Getting this light was hard enough considering how much muscle mass i was/am carrying. The "correct technique" thing has always been an issue for me. Mainly when doing squats I was always taught to break the parallel point (I had a coach tell me that he should be able to put a slip board on my lap and it slips towards me rather than away). By this definition I had "good form," which was important when competing. Now that I am not doing so anymore what form should I use to put the least amount of stress on my knees? Maybe just do 3/4 squats?
Yes 3/4 squats is sufficient, and you do not need to break the 90 deg barrier now that you are no longer in competition. The further past 90 deg you go the more stress on the knees produced. Also knees should not break the plane of your toes which means the hips must move backwards similar to sitting in a chair and a neutral spine.
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