Last month, Ohio Machine goalie Scott Rodgers gave an in-depth description of his offseason workout program in the MLL Press Box series, Inside the Weight Room. Since then, the Major League Lacrosse All-Star goalie has undergone knee surgery to remedy an injury he sustained in June of last year.
Rodgers sat down to describe how the surgery has impacted his meticulously planned workout schedule and how someone with his energy level (and short attention span) was able to pass the time during his recuperation.
I tore my lateral meniscus and not many people know I played eight games with it.
There was a three-game stretch (June 2-9) where we played a Thursday, Saturday, Thursday game. Just like the guys in the NFL, we don’t really like those Thursday games.
That’s three games in eight days. As a 29-year-old athlete that was kind of a tough deal for me. And it was a Rochester, Florida, Charlotte stretch, so they were all very important games.
I knew I did something to my knee because we had a bus ride from Rochester to Ohio to play the Launch, and my knee was just kind of bummed out.
I thought it was nothing.
Our team doctor at Ohio State Medical is great. They took an MRI and I had a lateral meniscus tear, which is called a “bucket handle tear”, and I had two bone fragments floating around my left knee. That could have been wear and tear, but there was a lot going on.
I had to decide whether to keep playing or get the surgery right then and maybe be available for the playoffs.
Up to that point I was having a pretty good year.
That first Atlanta Blaze game (June 18) – no excuses I didn’t play that well. But, I wasn’t moving well and that’s when I first found out the results of the MRI.
In this league, if you lose the opportunity, most goalies don’t get a second opportunity. Most goalies get one audition, then it's "see ya later.” I weighed out my options to see if it would really affect the team, whether it would affect my performance, and I think it did that game, but after I knew the options, and knew what I could do pain mangement-wise, and what I could do during the week to get in the routine to manage this thing, I think it didn’t affect my game at all.
I played in the All-Star Game and had a great All-Star Game. If anyone watched that, I was moving very well and my knee was fully torn at that time. I couldn’t damage it any more.
As a goalie you run on momentum and I like to say, the good times. When the good times are good, as a goalie it’s amazing. And if you take yourself out of that element, you could be a whole different goalie.
The option for me was get the thing repaired or get it removed. Listen, I know my timetable as far as playing and I wanted to play.
I had a doctor in Baltimore who played goalie at Johns Hopkins back in the 70’s, Dr. Leslie Matthews. The guy is one of the best surgeons in the local area and he knows the position. So, the big thing for me was, “Hey, what’s going to get me on the field the quickest?”
“Well, we’re going to remove the thing.”
Now, do most people get it repaired? Yeah, but the recovery is six to eight months on the repair, so I said, “Let’s just make it six to eight weeks.”
I’ll be rolling into training camp full-go. The only risk is, the meniscus is like a break pad, so when I’m 50, I might need a total knee replacement, but hopefully medicine has changed by then.
There’s the risk of arthritis, which I kind of have a little bit of already. If you look inside any athlete’s knee, they have a little bit of arthritis. With no cushion in there, that accelerates that process.
A lot of body builders take what’s called a “de-load week”, where you take time off from lifting. I rarely ever do it when I’m training. I get kind of psychotically impulsive. So, for me, it was a much-needed break. I hadn’t not touched a weight for seven days straight before.
Your body is not going to go through atrophy in a week, but in my head I felt like I was shrinking by the day.
I was sitting on the couch with ice on my knee. I had a stimulation unit on in my house. I’m watching Stranger Things on Netflix and I kept thinking to myself, “I’m dwindling away right now.”
My girlfriend was like, “Just flex your quad! Do something active!”
I was losing my mind.
I thought every time I ate I was just being a fatty. So I was like, “OK, I’m gonna just sit on my couch and watch another episode and eat another PB&J.” But I was losing weight. So it was just a weird time for me.
It was one of those things where I had never done it, and it was finally good to not do something. When I came back last week, I hit the weights and I think I hit 225 pounds for 29 reps. I just wanted to see what I had, because usually I can tell if I lost any strength by how many times I can press 225, and I actually came back stronger after a week layoff.
My elbows were rested, my shoulders were rested. I was kind of surprised myself, because in my head I thought I was going to come back and say, “Oh my god, I’m so behind the eight ball.” But it was fine.
I’m not good at being injured. Some guys are used to tearing their knees up and stuff. I’m ADHD, I’m sitting on my couch and thinking about a million different things I need to do. I’m pretty intense, so for me to just sit there being docile is not a good look. And that’s kind of what I had to do. I learned a little bit over that week and a half.
You can read about Scott Rodgers' workout routine in his first story entry, Inside the Weight Room. Click above to receive MLL Press Box stories directly to your inbox.