Injury recovery

The fastest Ninja Returns

Mila Stanzani always loved fitness, the outdoors, climbing and anything extreme. She’s always been fortunate to get away with silly little cuts/bruises or close calls, so her mindset has always been “I must be invincible”.

In 2022, Mila started taking training more seriously and finding her niche for calisthenics with ninja sport/obstacle training. Always pushing herself to the limit and filming crazy challenges on social media, she rarely considered consequences and risks of her actions.

In September 2023 Mila qualified to be in Team UK, traveling to Belgium for the world championships, where she was ready to give her all on the 100m course. The day before the competition, whilst practicing on the course, Mila bolted on to the 3rd obstacle, and she body-slammed herself on the ground. Before she knew it, Mila was in hospital with a sling on her arm being told she had fractured and dislocated her shoulder.

Luckily Mila had none other than Beth Lodge, winner of ninja warrior, by her side. Beth gave words of encouragement as she had also injured her shoulder years prior and understood the healing journey Mila was about to go on.

Words can’t explain how upset and disappointed Mila was with herself. Due to the injury, there was a risk of losing progress and potentially not being able to do the things she used to do. With the help of Tommy Matthews, Michael Micciche, Jack Bowerman, and the rest of the team at The Medical Temple Quay, Bristol, Mila was able to regain my mobility and strength and have the confidence to return to competitions.

Over the following months, Mila worked with the team normalising her range of movement, developing her shoulder strength and regularly reassessing to monitor my progress. At the start of the rehabilitation journey, Mila had major strength deficits in lifting her arm up in front and to the side (66% weakness compared to her right). As they discussed through the results of Mila’s testing, it was clear that it was going to take a lot of work. Over the following months, Mila worked hard at home doing her exercises and in the sessions with the team until her shoulder started feeling a lot stronger.

By December/January Mila’s shoulder felt good enough to start ninja training again. She was more cautious than ever, making sure she warmed up effectively, putting more thought into her workouts and listening to her body. The 100m trials to secure her spot in team UK was coming up and Mila was very nervous as she knew her shoulder didn’t like certain things. So, she adapted her training to make it work for her, discussed with Tommy about returning to sport and altering her techniques on the obstacles. My goodness did it pay off! Mila came 1st place and as soon as she hit that buzzer and saw her time, a wave of emotions hit her. Mila was so proud of herself and she’s now more excited than ever to smash competitions this year, but also take time and listen to her body. Coming back from an injury is hard but with determination and acceptance anything is possible. The goal must be always to remain motivated, and this can inspire others and just because you’ve been injured, the party doesn’t need to stop!

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