Laybourne’s shoulder surgery: road to fitness in time for 2011 international season

Rachel Laybourne is a key member of the GB women’s squad and is currently at home in Sheffield recovering from major shoulder surgery. Here she gives us an update on her injury, the operation and most importantly, the road back to full fitness!

“In retrospect 2010 was a good year for my volleyball playing experiences. Some tough playing environments taught me lessons that no classroom can prepare you for, some games pushed me to play some of the best volleyball to date, fund raising events showed me how resilient and determined my team mates are and certain decision making processes tested my belief in the greater good. However, the biggest test came on the 31st December at 10am.

It would be unfair to say it came as a complete shock and in a way there was sense of relief. I had approached my sports doctor with concerns about my right shoulder. It was decided that the most suitable process of elimination was a MRI Arthogram. This was scheduled for 24th December and the results were delivered the following week. In short my scan showed I had a large SLAP tear in my shoulder and damage to one the rotator cuff tendons. The only option was to consult a shoulder specialist surgeon.

That was last year. This year I am being proactive and seeing this small set back as a necessity in order to become stronger and ultimately a better volleyball player.

Laybourne back in the gym on the road to fitness

I had the surgery on the 14th January 2011 and it went well. I am currently in a sling 24 hours a day and shall be for a total of three weeks. I find some things just impossible like cutting food up, tying my laces and trying to put my hair up. Other things are just funny and I smile how limited I feel. I try exercising on the CV bike each day to pass some of the time but I know this is only short term and I’ll be out of my sling in no time and back to the weights room. The next step is to work on the range of movement exercises and going back to the drawing board to learn how to use the small muscles in my shoulder correctly.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not enjoyable or easy but the long term goal and lifetime dream of the Olympics is the main motivation and when you have great teammates constantly keeping you in the loop and updated, you come to realise that it’s just another phase of being an elite athlete.”

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