NoOffDays on the journey from injured to inspiring

April 15, 2014, 11:28 a.m. (ET)

As part of the U.S. Men's #NoOffDays campaign, athlete Jed Cunningham (Moorpark, Cali.) talks his torn hamstring and his strategy to get back on the pitch. 

“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to it until you get there.”

 - Harvey Mackay

The last seven months have been a challenge. Gone are the wind sprints, core workouts, and hockey trainings in my life. They have been displaced by ice packs, foam rollers, and lots of rest.  See, I tore my hamstring during the Pan Am Cup in Canada last August, and I have been doing the rehab rounds since. At first it was tough - I wanted to run, walk fast, or really do anything active. After some reflection, I decided the fastest way to be free (mobile) was to be clinical during everyday life.

To me, being clinical meant being careful even when doing everyday, mundane things. I had to put in extra effort to put on my socks on in the morning, only lead with my strong leg when going up stairs, and not drive my Jeep (stick shift). These changes were painful at the time, but they needed to be done for me to get back to hockey. I’m already starting to see results from these tough choices - I can now walk up the stairs leading with both legs and I just started doing some lifting a few weeks ago.

I know not everyone’s had a serious injury before, so let me give you an able-bodied example. Sure, it might be more fun to practice shooting on the goalie non-stop, but you might be better off spending your time working on penalty corner insertions or some basic skills like trapping.

This same concept applies in life outside of hockey too. Sometimes taking a step back and getting a different perspective shows where you can make some small changes that can have a noticeable impact.

So take a few minutes to think about what you really need to do to improve your game (or your life). Sometimes putting in the hard work isn’t glamorous or fun, but make it happen. Stick to it -  your persistence will pay off in the end.

- Jed Cunningham  #13