Harrison Callaghan is back and clear to take off.
Callaghan, a third-year veteran of the men’s volleyball team for Dalhousie University is back in the line up after being forced to sit out the 2017-2018 season due to a back injury.
He missed the entire season after he hurt his lower back right before the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Callaghan had microtrauma in his back for years leading up to his injury and hurt it while getting dressed.
Despite the injury, Callaghan went to every practice, even though he wasn’t able to participate.
“I started to dislike volleyball at one point because I had to watch the sport that I love playing,” Callaghan said.
“As it didn’t get any better, I stopped thinking that there would be an ending and maybe it’d be something more chronic. That’s when it became a lot tougher because I knew that I will be out of sport for a very long time.”
Mentally, Callaghan dealt with thoughts that he’d maybe get reinjured, or if he would ever play again.
Often, athletes deal with injuries in two different ways: physically and psychologically.
During the beginning of the injury, Callaghan would go to practice but would have to lay down after because of the pain. Psychologically, he was introduced to meditation.
“Meditation helped me clear my head from negative thoughts,” Callaghan said.
“It helped me stop thinking about it for like ten minutes, but as I continued to meditate my pains started to go away and my head became more and more clear from the negative.”
Callaghan wanted to be back on the court to help his team and be able to play again. Meditating helped him to feel better mentally and physically.
It’s important to remain active with a back injury. That means it is important to start slow activities like walking and then progress to running, biking and then do weight training.
“I knew if I had any chance to come back and having my back in an athletic shape, I had to remain active,” Callaghan said.
Regardless of the situation, Callaghan remained positive, focused and motivated about his come back to the sport.
Dal volleyball Tigers switch it up; brings new competition
Since his absence, Dal has switched conferences.
They moved with the University of New Brunswick from the AUS to Quebec’s RSEQ university sport league. The travel isn’t too different because AUS and RSEQ schools often played against each other during the season.
The difference is that Dal will have to go through the Quebec schools to get to the national championships. Université Laval is ranked third in the country while Université de Montréal is an honourable mention.
“Some people might look at it as you will lose more games, but we look at it as a new challenge and to have our best match regardless of who we play and that is always fun,” Callaghan said.
“To know that you are up against some of the top teams in the country is a fun thing to have to overcome.”
In his first six games back this season, Callaghan who plays the libero position, leads the team in digs and is second in assists. The Tigers have three wins and three losses.
Being on the sideline for a whole year taught Callaghan to cherish every moment you spend doing something that you love.
Callaghan expects to be a leader and help his team become better as a whole and individually.