Tom Rees Column
A strong sense of Déjà Vu
Tom Rees
October 15, 2009
Wasps skipper Tom Rees poses at the Guinness Premiership season launch, Twickenham, August 27, 2009
Wasps skipper Tom Rees is progressing with his rehab © Getty Images

I find myself on my parents' sofa in front of the TV with a host of drinks, snacks and painkillers surrounding me at the beginning of a lengthy rehab after shoulder surgery - and I'm getting a very strong sense of Déjà Vu.

When I was told that I was going to have another surgery on my shoulder and be out for around four months, effectively starting my rehab from scratch, it sent my mind to a fairly dark place.

As with most professional sportsmen, I'm blessed with doing what is a hobby for a job, and as anyone with a hobby will agree, to be unable to do it doesn't make for a happy bunny. Injury adds to this the frustration with the sense of not being able to really do anything about it and the feeling of letting people down. Whilst in my 'dark place' I will admit to thinking about giving the whole thing up, but as much as I don't like being injured, I dislike the thought of not playing more and, as my club physio pointed out, four months isn't much compared to another five or more years playing.

So for now the daily regime consists of painkillers every four hours or so, icing my shoulder for 10 minutes every hour, and three times a day I have a little exercise routine that wouldn't challenge a two-year-old - but leaves me in a sweat! Still, it's early days, next week I hope to progress to doing a bicep curl, without any weight!

As rugby is a job it's a good idea to find other hobbies, and certainly these can serve you well to pass the time in between icings. Annoyingly, my latest endeavour has been to learn to play the electric guitar and a sling pretty much puts an end to this. I can balance the guitar on my knee and practise silently, fretting the different chords, and whilst this will improve my housemate Rob Webber's mood from annoyed to moderately peeved, it does nothing for my dreams of rock-stardom.

I am also a fan of computer games (thankfully I am able to still hold a controller) and it has helped to pass many hours. I'm currently waiting for the release of a game called Brutal Legend which features Jack Black as a heavy metal roadie, saving the world with riffs and solos from his magical guitar, so this should cover both bases for me. Films and DVDs are another great way to pass the time - the box set of the latest season of House getting me through my two days in hospital.

I have also enjoyed Brick, a film noir style murder mystery but one that was set in an American High School, and a quirky French short film about a kid and his magical balloon, which was far, far better than it sounds and than I'd be able to describe!

I've also read a book about the life of a B-movie actor and a book about a rock music fan's journey to discover classical music. All of this might sound like a waste of time but it is keeping me occupied at a time when I have nothing really to do. There will be far more constructive things to pass the time but with motivation fairly low in this first week after the surgery, they will have to wait. Besides, the wastes of time stop me thinking too much about rugby.

Of course the game cannot be ignored entirely though, and since my last post, Wasps have continued our impressive start to the season. Despite a loss at London Irish, home wins in the Guinness Premiership against Worcester and Northampton helped carry this early season form into the Challenge Cup, and a hard won victory against Racing Metro 92 last weekend (if someone knows what the 92 is about please let me know). Next up are Roma and one of the highlights of our European season, the away trip to Rome, which I'm now getting grumpy about missing!

Injury is a hot topic at the moment with early season injury list growing, debates about the size of players filling the papers and discussions about what can be done. I haven't a clue, but I do know that while I don't enjoy being injured and would do my best to avoid it, the only way to avoid it completely just isn't an option.

If you've got a question for Tom, or some suggestions to add to his reading list, please Click Here to get in touch.


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