Former NFL star Shawne Merriman knows a thing or two about Achilles injuries, and when he heard former UFC champion Jamhal Hill ruptured his, there was plenty of advice to offer.
Merriman is best known for his achievements on the gridiron, but for nearly two decades, he has been around the fight business, and is currently the promoter of Lights Out Xtreme MMA, which returns on Jan. 6 in Long Beach, Calif.
In July, Hill relinquished his light heavyweight title after he ruptured his Achilles tendon during a pickup basketball game with other MMA fighters. Merriman caught word of the news, and connected with Hill to offer advice from his own experience with the same injury.
“I’ve reached out to Jamahal Hill, and I was walking him through the process on what he should do, how many times he should work out, what he should be taking to speed up the process, as far as all your fish oils – I’ve been through it,” Merriman told MMA Junkie. “You know, which doctors for therapy to go see.
“… So the first thing when I saw Jamahal Hill tear his Achilles, I reached out and said, ‘Dude, go see this person.’ Do this, do that, because somebody like that with that level of talent, we can’t wait to see him back in the cage.”
After being released by the San Diego Chargers in 2010, Merriman dealt with his own Achilles issues. He was picked up by the Buffalo Bills, but landed on the injured reserve list twice due to the injury, the second of which ended his 2011 season.
Merriman believes the road to recovery from an Achilles injury is easier for an MMA athlete than for football players due to the differences in training methods and activity schedules.
“It’s easier in MMA and I’ll tell you why: Because you can go at your own pace,” Merriman explained. “If you start training, you go through camp, you can back off any point in time you want. If you don’t feel great that day, you can back off. In football, it’s 22 weeks. When Sunday comes around, you are going. I don’t care how you feel. So I think in football it’s a lot different. Also, you’re wearing cleats, the explosion, cutting, pushing off of that thing, someone else pushing up against you.
“Jamahal Hill will be completely fine. He’ll come back, you won’t even notice a difference in what he’s doing. That’s why his injury is going to be fine when he comes back.”
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