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Gymnastics: A cry to arms after shoulder blow

The Scottish Championships last weekend was the first competition of the season.

Adam Cox feels the pain as he goes through his routine on the parallel bars at the Scottish Championships before being forced to stopPhotograph: Stewart Attwood
Adam Cox feels the pain as he goes through his routine on the parallel bars at the Scottish Championships before being forced to stopPhotograph: Stewart Attwood

I did not have a great day at the office. Everyone was looking to show the new skills they had been working on over winter training, and how well they had been incorporated into their routines. It was the first time that all the Commonwealth Games hopefuls were competing together and it was great to be a part of it.

Unfortunately "being a part of it" was the extent of my performance. With falls on pommel, rings and parallel bars, I did not exactly show the selectors my best. And, to make matters worse, I couldn't even finish the competition which will now put a question mark over my physical fitness.

I was not the only gymnast to struggle with the pommel and rings. The chalk we use to prepare the apparatus is usually quite coarse which helps with grip, but almost all the men found the chalk was very fine which meant there was less friction and grip, causing uncharacteristic falls from many during the day. I finally pulled out of the competition after I felt my shoulder jerking when performing on the parallel bars and I decided that continuing could hinder my chances to train for the remaining trials. It was not an easy decision, but I think it was the right one.

Over the past few weeks I have been really struggling with pain in my left shoulder. Luckily, I have a brilliant medical team around me which meant that as soon as it began to affect my training, about three weeks ago, I was quickly referred to a consultant and an ultra sound scan was done. I received the results last Monday and the scan revealed I have damaged the glenoid labrum in my shoulder, and more specifically have a "superior labral tear from anterior to posterior", also known as a SLAP tear.

When this was being explained to me, I had no idea what any of this meant but there was only one thing I wanted to know: Would I still be able to compete if selected for the Games?

I was told the shoulder will need to be operated on at some point, but when preparing for major events, some athletes have managed to nurse the injury along until there is a convenient time to have it fixed. The rehabilitation time after the operation would take 12 weeks which means I cannot have the operation after the trial process is over because it would not give me enough time to be fully fit to compete in Glasgow.

So I was left with two choices. I could have the operation now, which means I would have time to be fully fit for the Games but I would run the risk of not being selected due to missing the last three trials. This would be a very bold move, especially after my performance last weekend so I decided against it.

Instead, I've chosen to leave the operation until after the Games/or the selection decision (if I don't make it) and adapt my training so I'm putting as little stress through it as possible while preparing for competition.

I will also be getting more sports massage and physiotherapy to help the soft tissue from seizing up. This process is not as enjoyable as it may sound. On Thursday I was subjected to "voodoo rubbing". I felt like someone was taking a blow torch to my shoulder and torturing me for information that I wanted to give up but simply didn't know.

Even after my performance at the Scottish Championships and hearing the news about my shoulder, I am trying my best to stay positive. Don't get me wrong, last weekend I was seeing red. I was furious and a little wounded after a desperately disappointing competition. But Kim and my family being there really helped to calm me down and see the bigger picture, by realising how far I have come on this journey and how proud they are of me for even putting myself in a place to be selected whilst holding down a full-time job.

Then I began to focus on the fact that training before the Scottish Championships had been going really well and while my performance may not have reflected that, I am still in good shape and fit enough to perform my routines well.

The next competitions will be the English, and then the British Championships which are both this month. I am looking to change most of my routines for these competitions so I have a higher start value. Theoretically, this means that if I go through the routines well, I should finish with my best scores since my return. It's time for one more big push.

o Gymnast Adam Cox is a junior world and Commonwealth Games medallist, and 2013 Scottish senior all-around champion

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