Happy Birthday Usain, I owe you

By Melissa Talbert August 21, 2020
Usain Bolt Usain Bolt

I have scoliosis. Constant stinging sensations, unintentional bad posture and stares from strangers that slowly leads to dwindling confidence are just some of its effects. Luckily the greatest sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt helped me.

I was diagnosed in 2010. My type of scoliosis is called idiopathic scoliosis.

Doctors don’t know the exact reason for a curved spine and so I don’t have all the answers.

It's frustrating.

Still, I had no choice but to live with it and reduce some of its effects. I started with the physical ones; my curved spine, uneven shoulders etc. My doctor, at the time, suggested I get a back brace. I did. People with scoliosis get a brace to restrict further curvature of the spine. A brace does not correct the curve at all, surgery does that.

While my bulky brace prevented my curve from getting worse, the attention it brought lessened my confidence.

People were rude. Especially when I wore my brace outside of my clothes to reduce the impressions and bruises it left on my skin after long hours of wearing it (I was allowed to remove my brace for showers only).

However, there were others who were genuine and encouraging. On some random day a curious man asked me about my back brace. I told him the basics and he replied, “do you know who also has scoliosis? Usain Bolt!”

According to Bolt’s autobiography, ‘Faster Than Lightning Bolt’, scoliosis curved his spine to the right and made his right leg half an inch shorter than his left.

Research studies were conducted to examine it more closely. Researchers are eager to know if his scoliosis works for, or against him in races.

An article published on July 2017 in the New York Times headlined, ‘Something Strange in Usain Bolt’s Stride’ said, “shortly after Bolt retires, the Southern Methodist University (S.M.U.) researchers hope to persuade him to visit their lab for more direct testing on a treadmill.”

The last thing on my mind was believing that Bolt could be a guinea pig. Instead, I thought about the hope that his exceptional performances gave me in spite of having scoliosis.

Happy 34th Birthday Bolt. Overcoming the emotional effects of scoliosis seemed nearly impossible until I witnessed your fearlessness.

I owe you a big thank you!

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

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