Guest post by my friend Seb Lavoie

When a tactical athlete suffers a catastrophic injury on and off duty, the focus must shift, at least temporarily, from prioritizing operational capacity to wellness, repurposing, or worse, surviving.

In August of 2021, I found myself in such a fundamentally challenging predicament. A minor lower left calf surgery turned into acute compartment syndrome, and a routine procedure escalated into nine separate surgeries to remove dead tissue from my left calf compartment. With every surgery, more and more of my calf muscle was removed, turning an excellent, healthy, and capable leg into an anchor. Exacerbating the issue was the ungodly quantity of opioids required to manage such a catastrophic injury. Despite the opioid-induced ‘fog,’ I knew that repurposing myself into a resilient, adaptive athlete was critical to more than just my physical capabilities. It would give me something to engage in wholeheartedly and prevent me from emotionally decaying into a victim mentality.

The overarching goal was a pre-defined and desirable outcome, but the path was paved with the stones of actionable items. Every modality researched and engaged with absolute intentionality. The wellness landscape is addressed holistically and not siloed as humans tend to do. Our simple cognitive processes sometimes struggle with the vast amount of information we need to navigate to make sense of the simplest things in life.

Body, mind, and the external world are interconnected through metaphorical pullies and ropes. Just as pulling on one rope causes movement in another, our actions in one area of wellness and recovery can have ripple effects in other areas. Understanding this interconnectedness allows us to engage in thoughtful, calculated, and dynamic modalities that may not always appear correlated at first glance.

Just like lingering physical issues can permeate through our mental and emotional lenses, so can the opposite. Although prioritization of recovery modalities is necessary, let’s not neglect or relegate the secondary and tertiary modalities to the unimportant realm. The controversial crew at West Side Barbell, a renowned powerlifting gym, was among the first to establish that power building isn’t as specific as it once thought. Their findings supported the observations that getting stronger at a particular lift often required one to be stronger overall and that breaking through strength plateaus often required an athlete to focus on things other than a specific lift.

In short, my thoughts on recovery are as follows:

  1. Allow yourself a brief grieving period for the loss you suffered.
  2. Research modalities that can assist you in all realms: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Engage as many of them as consistently as possible, understanding that all those systems are interconnected and codependent.
  1. Do not let a disabling mind prevent you from engaging in the less known or more obscure yet scientifically relevant modalities. The mind works precisely like a parachute… open.
  1. Do not seek the goal of being who you once were; instead, embrace the grind associated with who you can and will be. That will become your anchor and allow you to reframe the lows (there will be lows).
  2. Understand your inspirational power by leading by example and wield it wisely.
  3. Override negative bias with positive reframing, thoughts and actions.
  4. There will not be obstacles in your way; obstacles are the way. This means that the challenges you face in your recovery journey are not barriers to your progress but the path to growth and resilience. Embracing and learning from these obstacles is crucial to the recovery process. Be consistent and track progress so you may dial up or down the intensity as needed.

Remember, you are not defined by who you are physically. You are a multidimensional warrior who faces life’s challenges head-on. Your strength and resilience transcend your physical form, which represents you.


July 2024

Sgt Major (ret.) Seb Lavoie

For We Fight Monsters


Sgt Major Seb Lavoie is a retired Police Tactical Team Leader, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Tactical/adaptive Athlete with a master’s in international security and Global Counterterrorism. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Seb brings a wealth of experience and expertise from his distinguished law enforcement and tactical operations career.

Ep 48 | Seb Lavoie retired RCMP Sgt Major, Mindset and Resilency

By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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