Recovery against the odds - Anderson Silva

Author: Dan Holloway
March 24th 10:39am

Those that follow Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC will remember with horror the fight that nearly ended former middleweight champion Anderson Silva's career. On December 28th 2013 Silva fought Chris Weidman at UFC 168 from Las Vegas. The fight started well and Silva looked strong in the first round. In the second round however, Silva threw a low leg kick which Weidman blocked causing Silva to step backwards. But suddenly Silva was on the floor clutching his leg and in obvious pain. Slowly people started to comprehend what had happened and the fight was stopped. Silva had snapped his tibia and fibula when the kick was blocked, leading to one of the most gruesome breaks in UFC history. Video found below, but be warned it isn't pretty.

After a year of physical rehabilitation and healing on January 31st 2015, Silva returned to the cage for the first time in a fight again Nick Diaz which understandably was a highly anticipated match. Would Silva be the same? Would the leg hold out or crumple under pressure? Was Silva psychologically ready to get back into competition? Silva was and won the match via decision after going five, 5 minute rounds in the cage.

So what was the secret of Silva's recovery? How did he step back into the cage after such a gruesome and potentially career ending injury? The answer is intense physical rehabilitation coupled with intense sports psychology. Silva diligently trained with a physiotherapist to build up the strength in his leg once it had healed. He then built up the supporting muscles through slow but consistent exercises, strengthening the leg and body in general and slowly returning to martial arts training. Once strength had been built up in the leg, kicks could start to be thrown again to get the leg used to that type of motion and further strengthen and support the leg.

Silva's injury was horrible to watch and many thought he would never return to professional mixed martial arts, let alone go on to win his first fight after his leg break. His recovery goes to show the durability of the human body and its ability to heal itself through correct physiotherapy, exercises and strengthening of the whole body in general. Silva is an example of how even people with severe injuries can make a full recovery through the correct training programs and come back stronger and fitter than before.

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