Dwayne’s back: From injury to skating rink fun Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Dwayne Fitt has always been active his entire life.

Whether he was hitting the gym daily or practicing budokaido jiu-jitsu, Dwayne’s days were fun-filled. However, it changed in 2020 when he suffered a back injury while weight lifting, which resulted in a partially herniated disc. He never recovered quite the same, dealing with excruciating back pain. He gradually gained weight, becoming a shadow of who he used to be.

“I got a back injury and everything went on pause. . . . In my opinion, it wouldn’t heal. I was in pain constantly. I started to put on a lot of weight. I did some therapy, I saw some people and it seemed as though nothing could be done about it,” Dwayne told Loop.

But in the summer of 2022, things started to turn around for the 42-year-old security guard. Why? He started roller skating.

It was a childhood hobby that was long forgotten but inspired after a brief conversation with a friend.

“He was asking me what I think about COVID and the things that people are doing to get outside, and the topic of skating came up,” Dwayne recalled.

Roller skating or inline skating was suggested as a rehabilitative exercise for Dwayne.

“He said that because of the angle that you have to adopt to keep your balance, it engages the muscle along the lumbar vertebrae so it forces that muscle to activate to give it work where other activities can’t. You have a lot of movements that focus on the lower back but because of the skating and how gentle it is, it would be a gradual build of the muscle around it.”

Dwayne followed up and started skating, learning with 246JustSkate. He told Loop it was quite a “shaky” start but after weeks of practice he noticed the benefits.

“My back was like this isn’t working. I’m still in pain but let me try it for a longer period of time.I tried to be consistent and right now, I can’t remember when I was in pain,” he shared.

Roller skating provided him with a much needed boost of the happy hormone, serotonin, and he found a new community as well.

Skating is not just an exercise for Dwayne but it is a family activity on weekends, where he goes to either Kooyman’s car park or the car park at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium with his girlfriend and his daughter.

“I absolutely love it. It is a good environment, it is a good atmosphere. . . . It is just a lot of joy for me now, that is why I continue with it.”

For those who may be interested but scared of falling, Dwayne reminds that falling or failure is part of life.

But with a big smile, he assured, “…90 to 95 per cent of the time, once you put on the skates, you don’t ever want to take them off!”