How To Deal With A Roller Derby Injury

One of the facts of roller derby is that injury happens. It might be as simple as a few bruises, a minor sprain or it might be something more serious (in which case, nothing in the above image is really going to help...). Whatever your injury, proper rehabilitation is so important but it's also essential that you don't let an injury get you down. 

Please note: I am not a medical professional. All this is simply my opinion and what I've learnt from my own injuries. If you're hurt, it's best you go and see a doctor or - at the very least - speak to your team's first aider.


If you've got a little niggle that's annoying you, rest in between practices. It's good to remember RICE – rest, ice, compression, elevation. Get yourself one of those reusable hot/cold packs that can be popped in the freezer ready for when you return home from training.

If something is still hurting after a few days then it might be worth taking a trip to see your doctor. 

See a doctor

If you have a serious injury then the first thing you'll do is see a doctor but a lot of us just put up with minor pain because going to the doctor's can be such an inconvenience. 

Even if you don't think it's entirely necessary, see a doctor. It's better to be safe than sorry and even if it isn't serious, your doctor will be able to give you some tips as to how you can be back on skates ASAP.

(I'm aware that this might not be as easy for everyone as it is for me in the UK with the NHS. I don't know a huge amount about the American medical system but I'm guessing you'll have the appropriate insurance if you play derby – please correct me if I'm wrong!)


Physiotherapy above and beyond what your doctor might offer can be really helpful in speeding up your rehabilitation. You'll be able to better manage your injury, strengthen yourself and avoid further injury in the future. 

Stay involved with roller derby

While you recover, don't just swear off derby until you're better. Get better but do all the things you'd still be doing as long as it doesn't hamper your recovery. Socialise, go to bouts and perhaps even try your hand at NSOing, if you haven't already. 

It's easy to feel down and isolated when you're injured, especially if you're not going to be able to skate for a while. Your derby family are going to help you through this but you need to make an effort, don't hide yourself away. 

Ease yourself back in

Once you're feeling better, don't go straight into a full-on scrim. Perhaps have a non-contact skating session to get a feel for your wheels again. Depending on how long you've been off skates, this might take more time than you might like. Just enjoy skating again and don't rush back into any big hits. 

Listen to your body

Once you start skating again, listen to your body. If an old injury starts to creep up on you, be very aware of it. If you skate on an injury, you could make it much worse and increase your recovery time massively. It might be good to take a week or two off when something starts to hurt rather than risk needing eight weeks off. 


There's a range of supports and protective gear out there that can help to reduce your chance of injury and give support to weak areas. This might be stretchy bandages for joints, crash pants (my Burton D30 shorts have saved my tailbone more than once), lace up ankle supports and kinesiology tape.

I spoke to Paulphysiotherapist and Medical Director of RockTapeUKhe said: "For roller derby, taping to support lower back, knees, ankles and shoulders would be popular ones but it depends as much on the person as it does what sport they are doing. 

A good piece of advice is to tape areas of pain, injury (old or new), generally any where that is compromised, weak, sore etc.  Tape can also be applied to aid recovery after play on muscles that get sore. "

I've recently been using kinesiology tape for a sore knee, the support it gives me allows me to skate even when walking might be tough. If you're not sure how to use this kind of tape, speak to your physiotherapist.

What steps have you taken to speed up recovery after an injury?

About The Author

DOB: 11/2/1988
Leagues: Bio:

Fitness blogger turned roller derby fresh meat with the Norfolk Brawds.

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