This weekend Imogen (my daughter) and I were down in Birmingham for the Men’s European Roller Derby Championship. The Skateful Dead had been ranked 15th of the 16 teams playing.

We arrived late Friday evening and caught up with the rest of the team – all buzzing about the weekend. Saturday we had an early start; alarm set for 6am so that we could get to the stadium and prepare. Our first bout, of 30 minutes, was at 10.15. We’d be playing the Quad Guards, ranked 2nd of the 16 playing! At probably 9.30 we started kitting up. I was nervous, as I’m sure were the rest of the team. It was only when I asked what time we were on track that I was told I wouldn’t be playing in the first bout. Rather late to be told, but no harm done. The arrangement was a bout each for Tony and I, so I’d be playing later. Fair do.

I had my camera with me, so I got on with my other hobby. The team played well and managed 18 to 176 for Quad Guards. Our next bout was at 4.30, so that gave us all some time to chill out and watch others play.

Then, mid afternoon, the decision was made to play the same line-up in the second bout as was played for the first. The French were playing hard, there was perhaps a chance we could win and I was still carrying an injury. Of the 15 playing for the Dead (which included 4 guest skaters) I was the weakest player. I wasn’t best pleased, obviously, but I wanted the team to do well and didn’t dispute the decision. It was a hard bout which Kamiquadz took with 147 against 82.

Andy 'Slam C Nesbit'The rest of the weekend was filled with watching awesome derby being played by awesome teams. I took lots of photos, 1,413 to be precise, which should be available on Flickr very soon. I’m dead chuffed that Andy “Slam C Nesbit” got recognition for his awesome blocking skills!

With the Euros behind us, I will be taking some time off skates until I’m 100 per cent injury free. It’s been six weeks now, a break is required!

Back on it

Yesterday nearly all of the SimpleUsability team ran in the Leeds 10K.
We are a mixed group, from those who have run marathons and half-marathons to those who have never run a distance race and done no training.

I ran my first distance race last November, the Abbey Dash 10K in Leeds. I trained for it with Motiv8 and Chris there did a damn good job. I achieved a time of of 50m30s. Since then I have tried to keep up the running and improve my general fitness level. When we signed up for this one I wanted to better that time; the route is almost identical. However, carrying an injury I was just please to finish. My time of 1h12m19s isn’t too bad. Today my left leg feels tight, but that’s not a problem. The team all did well, Judith was the fastest and Mark )who had done no training) was only minutes behind me.

Of course, once you can run, you can also skate! So, with the run as a warm up for the day, I went to Skateful Dead training in the afternoon.

This was the last (normal) session before the European Championships next weekend! (I say normal as we are planning an extra session on Wednesday at Futsal in Cottingley – it’s the same type of floor as we’ll be playing on in Birmingham.)

It was back on skates, but aware that I needed to be a little careful. The team are great, they also took care not to hit too hard – at least before the scrimmage. The session started with a new endurance exercise, which lasted ten minutes. Then we recapped some of the blocking and jamming techniques that we have learnt over the past months.

The scrimmage was fun. It was the first time I’d worn my “bum savers” and I have to say they work really well. I got knocked over quite a few times, but they do a really good job of protecting my, very boney, hips. Special mention to Adam for knocking me off track when I was jamming then running back to test my “cutting track” knowledge. Lawrence for being a cheeky git and asking so politely to be allowed past – I let him through when I should have blocked him. Fool!

Really good session and today my leg is no worse than it was before yesterday :-)


It feels a little odd looking back at my post of 9 June. I had an awesome training session that day. Yet on the Monday following it I found that I’d seriously injured by leg. Since then I have been hobbling. Only today have I bothered to bring my netbook with me – sitting on a train causes a nagging pain right down the back of my leg.

The Injury

From extensive Googling I would describe my injury as grade 2 tearing of my hamstring and calf muscles in my left leg. Combined with this I have damaged my sciatic nerve, also in my left leg. The cause is, undoubtedly, roller derby, though I don’t know what specifically. I did fall small and have another of the team land on top of me, but I can’t imagine how that would injure muscles in the back of my leg.

As a result I have no power in that leg; I’m unable to stride. The outer three toes and that side of my left foot are numb. Sciatic pain, as I’m sure most readers will be aware, causes pain from the hip joint all the way down the leg.

I haven’t been absent from work as a result, though I’m glad I’ve not had to travel. For the first two weeks I wasn’t able to sit on the train as it was too painful. At work I sat half on the chair with my left leg hanging off the chair.

Lessons learned?

You will take longer to recover than you think

This is probably true at all ages, but the timescales for you youngsters will likely be shorter. During the first week after injury I thought I’d be good to go, though not 100% , by the following Sunday. After two weeks I sought medical help. Now, at almost five weeks, I still can’t walk properly. It will drive you insane. Stick with it.

Check/treat for injuries after contact sports

I wasn’t aware I was injured until the day after practice. In future I’ll consider having a cold bath after each practice session. If this helps to reduce injury time then it’s worth doing.

Use the Internet wisely

The frustration at not being able to do anything and the nagging pain resulted in my doing lots of “research”. From that I knew I’d end up having my leg amputated or worse. Much better to…

Seek medical attention

I have rarely/never found a visit to the doctor to be useful. In this instance though it would have resulted in my getting stronger medication sooner. Would that have speeded my recovery? I’d like to think so, and I now have medication to counter the adverse effects of the NSAIDs too. That said, after almost three weeks on the strong stuff I’m still not 100 percent. (See my first point)

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory

I always thought Ibuprofen was a painkiller but apparently it’s more a “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug” (NSAID). So in the first two weeks I would probably have been wise to take paracetamol as well.


Every day I wake up and hope that I’m “better”. Well, I’m recovering, but I think it will be probably another month or two before I’m back to normal. In the mean time I’m part of the SimpleUsability team running/walking/hobbling in the Leeds 10k – help raise money for the Leeds Children’s Hospital by sponsoring us. Then next weekend I’m skating with The Skateful Dead in the Men’s European Roller Derby Championship down in Birmingham!

No rest for the wicked it seems :-)