“Coming Back Strong” a primer on elite runners’ injuries and rehab

“Coming Back Strong” a primer on elite runners’ injuries and rehab

“Coming Back Strong” a primer on elite runners’ injuries and rehab

“Coming Back Strong,” subtitled “Distance runners on injury, cross training & rehab,” has been published by veteran track and field writer Don Kopriva.

The 228-page soft-cover book features the stories of 76 U.S.-born male distance runners, focusing on injuries they have incurred, how they have cross trained and rehabbed, what they have learned about the emotional, psychological and physical demands of trying to recover, and their advice to other injured runners.

An opening chapter offers the views of notable college and high school coaches on the topic as well as on the mental aspects of injuries, the psychological effect of injuries on teams, and factors involved in determining when an athlete should return to competition.

The athletes who were surveyed represent various eras and include some top runners from the 1960s and 1970s, others who were at their best in the 1980s or 1990s and many more young athletes who began to make their mark in the late 1990s and 2000s.

Twenty-six U.S. Olympians related their injury experiences, including Dathan Ritzenhein, Alan Webb, Matt Tegenkamp, Bob Kennedy, Doug Brown, Galen Rupp, Jim Spivey, Alan Culpepper, Robert Gary, Steve Scott, Jorge Torres, Steve Plasencia, Jonathon Riley, Brian Diemer, Paul McMullen, Billy Nelson, Brad Hauser, Mark Deady, Tim Broe and Rick Wohlhuter.

Two-time Olympian Ritzenhein, the ninth-place finisher in the 2008 Beijing Games marathon who has sustained numerous stress fractures throughout his career, appears on the book’s cover with current University of Wisconsin-Parkside track coach Micah VanDenend, who starred in the 5K at Iowa but also underwent four surgeries during an injury-punctuated career.

Kopriva has been covering cross country and track, as well as coaches and athletes in the sports, for numerous magazines and newspapers for more than 45 years.  A former college sports information director and newspaper editor, he has covered more than 120 Big Ten meets, 80 NCAA meets, 43 Drake Relays, six Olympic Trials and two Olympic Games.  He is now working on “Returning To Form,” a women’s version of the injury book, with VanDenend, and also on a biography of Ritzenhein. He has also co-authored “On Wisconsin,” a history of University of Wisconsin athletics.

The 8½ x 11-inch soft cover book, published by WriteOn Communications Solutions (www.writeoncomm.net), P.O. Box 3830, Lisle, Ill. 60532, is priced at $24.95; priority mail rate per book is $8; standard rate is $4 additional. Checks may be made payable to the publisher.