Roger Federer, tennis champion and all round good guy, missed the rest of the 2016 season - including the Olympic Games - because of injury. Not an injury incurred on the tennis court, or one that happened during training. Not even one resulting from celebrations after yet another win. No, this injury started with slipping over while running a bath for his twins girls (aged 6 at the time).
Roger, Roger, the parents of the world feel your pain. Not many people can hope to put themselves in your shoes within the confines of a tennis court, but parents can totally relate to the feeling of being injured thanks to their children. Hopefully not many of these injuries result in surgery (or missing an Olympic Games) but I fear there are other stories out there.
On a more minor level, I wonder if you, Roger, father to 2-year old twin boys as well as now 7-year old twin girls, can relate to the more minor injuries that beset nearly all parents at some stage.
1. Groin kick: Let's kick off (see what I did there?) with a biggie. I don't possess external genitals but I've watched my husband receive many a kick to the groin thanks to our kids. Prime candidate activities are play wrestling and jumping on the bed (while the parents are still in it). Even young infants can whop a powerful kick while on a change table – ours was just at the right (or wrong, perhaps I should say) height for my husband's crown jewels.
2. Head butt: similar to the groin kick, but affecting any gender of parent, this one can also leave a parent in serious pain. My son went through a stage around the time of starting school where barely a day went by that he didn't clash heads with someone – and I was in the firing line scarily often. Watch out for very young children – even before a baby develops head control, their heads are astonishingly heavy.
3. Eye gouge: Babies just love eyes. They love looking at them, gazing into them….and sticking their fingers in them. I've been terrified of this one since hearing the story of how, at age 2, I was sent to fetch a neighbour for help after my baby sister scratched my mother's eye so badly that she couldn't open either eye for hours. Don't think wearing glasses will protect you – young kids are even more fascinated by glasses than eyes, and will poke on, and under, these. They will also not hesitate to rip them off your head in ways that endanger your face as well as the 'cost-a-week's-wages' expensive frames.
4. Lego imprint: we all love Lego…until we step on a piece with bare feet. How can such a small coloured brick hurt so much? Bonus points are awarded if you manage not to scream when the offending piece of Lego is in your child's room and you are tiptoeing around trying to get them to sleep / not wake them.
5. Earring grab: It seems that many kids have not received the memo that earrings are designed to be removed by carefully sliding them out, not grabbing them and yanking down for dear life. I feat that many a mother's earlobes have been ripped thanks to the strong grip of their kids. I was once injured thanks to my earrings in a different way – after my daughter's birth, I didn't wear earrings until I returned to work. On my return home from my first day, I picked her up, which put her at eye level with the glittery pieces of metal. She wanted a closer look, so pushed my head to one side with astounding force, leaving me with a cricked neck!
6. Over enthusiastic hug: One of my favourite things is having my child run into my arms when we've been separated for more than a usual length of time. You know the scenario – me crouching down with my arms outstretched, then my child running into them for a big hug. The problems started as my son grew - he would pelt towards me from a huge distance away – seemingly reaching terminal velocity just before throwing himself into my arms, knocking me flying backwards. I started seriously bracing myself for his welcome back hugs – kneeling on one knee, with a wide stance and one leg forward, possibly with one arm one the ground for extra support. I would welcome him with my other arm, whilst simultaneously bracing myself for impact. It's still one of my favourite things, I just like to be better prepared so I can enjoy the experience without injury.
After a career that has spanned nearly 20 years and seen him win 17 Grand Slam singles titles, all the while being essentially injury free, how must it feel to have been felled by such an act as simple as running your kids a bath?
Have you been unwittingly injured by your child?