On July 31st 2010, my left leg went numb, graciously handing me a "No Height" at what could have possibly been my final competition as a professional pole vaulter. On Saturday December 4th 2010 I stepped on the runway for the first time since that crushing day. After a chiropractic adjustment Friday to my upper back the wave of pain relief was inspiring. Changes in therapy and training over the past few weeks have led me to believe that my lower back is now healthy and strong enough to plant a vaulting pole once again. I put a cap on my jumps, 3 was to be the maximum, then the assessment of pain levels throughout the next 24 hours would be the dynamic that guides me to the following week. 3 jumps I took, from 10 steps on 15' poles. They weren't the prettiest, or highest, or inspiring, but it was me in the air once again. The results are in, no change in pain, no sleepless night, no numbness in the leg. A serious overpowering hunger for more? Check.
I know what your thinking, he's going to hurt himself again. You may be right, but if you think that's the case because I'm going to push myself to hard, to soon, then you are wrong. I've invested far to much time, energy, resources, and emotion to throw it all away for one hint of success. I'm going to continue to take my time, listen to my body, and remain on task. Because my health is still more important than my height in the air. Yes there is a degree of peril, but there is for every vaulter. Those of us who minimize it, carry on. I know my body better than any doctor, and I plan to take care of it. But without great risk, there cannot be great reward.