I took that phrase from a movie called "The Program" a long time ago. The player was down on the field and the coach came out and said "Are you injured or are you hurt?". The player asks what's the difference and the coach replies "If your injured you are done; if you are just hurt then you can still play...so are you injured or are you hurt?".
I have asked my own kids that same question, and I have asked them to ask themselves that question when they feel like lying down on the ice/field during a game. I don't agree with the whole soccer mentality of rolling around on the playing surface like you got shot if you can just find the strength to get up and get to the side lines. I think that my boys have bought in to this. Now if I have to come out onto the surface I know that there is a real problem.
As some who follow this know, I have taken up BJJ. I actually had to ask myself the very same question after my first day of sparring aka "rolling". I didn't do too bad for my first day. Got submitted a couple of times, but I also made a few moves that were good then had no idea what I should do from there. At the end of the 5 minute roll, I stopped. I didn't roll again with anyone else. Something just told me that I shouldn't and boy was I right. As I cooled down, my ribs began to really hurt. They began to hurt as if I had a stick lodged into them. That was two weeks ago today. The wise me, asked myself the next morning...are you injured or are you hurt. The answer was that I was injured. I couldn't sleep on either side, nor roll over and it was pretty sore to even breathe. So I sat out. I didn't train, I didn't really do much of anything physically. It was only last night that I could bear to roll over onto each side while lying down. Still not pain free, but bearable.
I tell you this because there was a time that I would have taken Advil and just went back to it. I would have ended up staying injured for quite awhile. These days, I listen more to what my body is trying to tell me. Sometimes it's that I need more sleep; sometimes it's that I should get up before my alarm. Sometimes it's that it's just a bit of pain and I can keep going; and sometimes it's a woah partner. I think the difference now is that I'm honest with myself. I am finally treating myself as I would treat another who I might care for. I read in Jordan Petersons book that people will take their dog to a vet if they feel it is sick at all, and give the dog the prescribed medicine dutifully, never skipping one and ensuring its well taken care of. When it comes to ones self, he said, many don't treat themselves as good as the family pet.
I have in large part my wife to thank for my new found care and attention to myself. She keeps on eye on whether I am red lining and lets me know. The cool part though is that when you do start taking care of yourself on this level, you gain a friend. You actually befriend yourself. Maybe this is just some form of self preservation as I start to realize that I am not as interested in competing with 20 year olds in the sports scene anymore; or maybe I am just starting to wise up to some of my own limits. I still don't feel that it's ok to roll over and lie down if you can keep going. I still think it's honourable to play hurt if the time is right to do it and you can be effective. Playing guitar on stage after being off for awhile and then going for two and three nights in a row for a few hours hurts, but I am not injured.
Preventing these injuries is the answer and I still haven't wisened up to that part yet. I do still jump in and go for a run instead of working up to it. I don't go as hard anymore, but if I am honest with myself I still do jump in. Even on the guitar front, I would hop on a stage and play for 4 hours after not touching my guitar for two weeks. That may not sound like that big of a deal to someone who doesn't perform but that's a bit too much time off without reps.
So the take away from this I guess is to be honest with oneself. Have you prepared? If so go all in, if not take it easy. Does it hurt? If so, how important is this activity? Are you in the league final of the lawn bowling national championship or is this just a Saturday afternoon game with your buddies? And finally are you injured or are you hurt? If one can be honest answering those questions without ego getting involved, the down time should be less in the long run. I'm expecting to be back on the mats at BJJ next week but only time will tell.