Interview of Jessica Hugues - Her sports injury and the rehab after it

18.03.2020

Interview of Jessica Hugues - Her sports injury and the rehab after it

1 - Question: Jessica, you excelled in karat until 2015. You wer 21 years old when this accident broke your neck which immobilized you for 4 weeks. How did you build your determination not to give up and face this event which suspended your career as a top athlete?

I really had no choice but to fight! the doctors told me they didn't know if I could ever walk again ... 2 options were available to me, the wheelchair or to fight and get back on my feet! It’s not in my temper to give up, the head guides the body, and in my head I wanted to heal as quickly as possible to quickly go back to the tatami mats, despite the disagreement with the surgeons who told me that karate was over for me.

2 - Question: Rehabilitation requires patience. How did the rehabilitation period go? How could you reclaim your body and your skills that needed to be regained?

It was a very long period, very difficult to live. I went through several phases… the first was the announcement that I should be operated on to consolidate my cervical with plates and pins, which would have resulted in a huge loss of mobility in the neck! We did not agree with this option and asked to find another solution.

The doctors therefore chose the “cranial halo” option… a metallic circle screwed into my skull and connected to a corset. This solution was intended to stretch my pull upwards and tighten the broken parts of my cervical to get a natural consolidation of it. I was in bed for 1 month and had to wear this corset for 4 months... it was impossible to take a shower alone, to sleep lying down, to be free to move; not to mention the look of people, which is not easy to accept.

Once my neck was consolidated, I had lost a lot of muscle mass ... my body was totally transformed! It was during this period that I decided to embark on fitness contests, to be able to gain muscle again and quickly get back into good physical shape!

3 - Question: Food side. It is not easy to change your diet to a sudden decrease in physical activity. Were you accompanied on the diet plan?

No, I did not follow a diet at all in terms of food during this period ... to say something, during my period in the hospital I was mainly fed on straw and purés… just opening my mouth wide gave me unbearable pain in the neck. I lost a lot of weight from eating poorly, I resumed a followed and controlled diet once the getting back in sports was possible.

Jessica Hugues

4 - Question: It is said that it happens first in the head, that it is through the power of will that we achieve all of our objectives. How do you feed your mind to get through the most difficult

days?

I managed to get through the darkest times thanks to my loved ones, my family and my boyfriend. If they weren't there, I don't think I would have been able to get through all of this! They were an everyday support, and I can’t ever thank them enough! I also received a lot of messages on my social media… a lot of people were following my story and I had lots of messages of encouragement that gave me a lot of motivation!

5 - Question: After your accident, you returned to sports with fitness. Why fitness? What has it brought to you? From karate to fitness, what is changing? Is fitness your sport n ° 1?

My boyfriend was, like me, in the france karate team… once his career ended he went got into competitive fitness, so I always followed that and the environment caught my interest! Once my “brain halo” was removed, I was not allowed to take up karate and I had to do another sport less risky... fitness presented itself to me as the best option! It gave me short-term sport goals and also motivated me to resume a good physical condition.

There are no big differences between karate and fitness… there is a lot from the world of martial arts in the fitness world. Being alone in the same room, repeating again and again to reach perfection. I found myself a bit like on my tatami mat repeating my katas, except that I was in the room with my dumbbells!

Jessica Hugues

6 - Question: You are struggling with a genetic disease that affects your eyesight. You are a model of perseverance and resilience. Above all the vagaries, how do you maintain this vocation for sport and your determination to perform, by any means necessary?

I was diagnosed with my disease at the age of 8. The prospect of this disease is the loss total sight in a few years... when? I do not know. The only thing I know is that it’s going to happen someday, unless treatment is found by then. It’s impossible for me to work because my eyesight gets tired very quickly and migraines come and interrupt my work. Sport is for me my breath of fresh air! If I don't have sport, I can't do anything! This is how it became my job and my passion from a very young age.  And since I'm a competitor, I want to be the best at what I do! Whether in karate or fitness, I have to be the best! Even if I don't have the same weapons as everyone else in the world.

7 - Question: 5 years later, can you say that you have fully recovered from this accident?

What did you learn from this experience? What are your current sports goals?

As incredible as it may seem, I have indeed fully recovered from my accident. Even the doctors are impressed! I have absolutely no sequelae. From time to time the neck a little stiff but it remains very rare! I can turn my head like before and I even took up high level karate for the Tokyo Olympics! But the adventure ended for me a few months ago because i got pregnant and I had my baby 4 months ago.

My goals are to take care of my little girl and my family! When it comes to sports, I plan to prepare for fitness competitions for 2021 in wellness category. Now being a mom, I give myself time to build enough muscle mass by managing my new schedule at the same time!


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