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Carriker Chronicles: How athletes should handle the coronavirus

Carriker Chronicles: How athletes should handle the coronavirus


All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.

On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker discusses how athletes should handle the downtime during the coronavirus and how they can still work out.

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Check out a full transcript below:

Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show, where we check the pulse of Husker Nation brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital. Hope you fine folks at home know that when I say the people's show, I mean that when I started the show I wanted the show to be different. I wanted it to be unique or set apart from some of the other things that are out there. I wanted it to be from a former player's perspective, which is sometimes hard to find. And I wanted it to be for the people. I wanted it to be different. That is not just some fancy little tagline there.

So today, I want to give you a former player's perspective on how I would have approached the coronavirus. Now let me be very, very clear. I understand first and foremost, that there are much bigger things going on in this world right now than the game of football. Right? There are people who don't know what what they're going to do financially in the future. There are people who are sick and things of that nature. I completely understand and respect all that, and all those people are genuinely in my thoughts and prayers. But just for the sake of this show, we're going to look at it from a former football player's point of view, just specifically how I would have handled football in a football vacuum if you will.

Now, for me not being able to lift, not being able to practice, not being able to do all these would have driven me frickin nuts. It would have driven me bonkers like, you're either getting better, or you're getting worse, whether it's football, basketball, baseball, tennis, that thing where they push it on the ice in the Olympics... curling, which I once thought was this. For me, it would have driven me nuts because I would have felt like man, somebody out there is doing something, and they're getting better somehow. What are they doing? And if they're getting better, and I'm not, that's creating a distance and a gap, which would have driven me bonkers. Now I know I know, people who looked for reasons to take days off here and there. Most of them were in the NFL, but hey, man, I got a family reunion and I'm gonna miss this workout. We can make it up. No, you're gonna show up on Wednesday cause you're leaving Friday? No, I'm not. Okay. That that was that to me. I didn't get that. To me if I miss something, it was like I was falling behind. And I know that's a little bit OCDish. I get that. But that's just how I was when it came to being competitive.

Now, there were times when life happens. There were times when I had to miss in college. There were times when I had to miss. And I'll be honest with you, in the NFL workout here there and I'll be honest with you, that's when I discovered pre workouts, right? So pre workouts, there's things that are supposed to ... perfectly legal over the counter. They're supposed to give you extra energy to get through your workouts and work out harder, workout longer. So what I would do because normally it'd be on a Friday, I go in, I take the pre workout, I do my normal Thursday workout, I go home, take a protein shake, take a little nap, eat a little snack, and I'd come back and I do my Friday workout on Thursday. It's called two-a-days. I freaking loved it, man. Because No. 1, I don't get people who want to skydive. Why do you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? What's wrong with you? My wife skydives. My wife also wants to climb Everest, for those folks who have climbed Everest or things of that nature ... Mount Kilimanjaro, which is just fun to say. I'm gonna tell you right now, that's not me.

Okay, my Mount Everest is when I'm bent over, when I'm sweating, when I don't know how I'm gonna walk, how I'm going to breathe, when I'm gonna do another rep, when I don't know how I'm gonna do another sprint. And then I find a way to do that. What I enjoy it... I know there's something wrong with me too. It's okay. I'm a defensive player, what do you expect something wrong with us? So for me, I would always that I would do those two-a-days and I'll never forget, you know, in the NFL, here's a story I've never told people before. For my time at Nebraska, I've never said this before. So on East Campus, there's the university's campus, they got a weight room there, nice little weight room, a lot of stuff done. So what I used to do is on upper body days, not lower body days, I don't want to do too much lower body days, but on upper body days, I would do everything I was supposed to do with the team, I'd run I'd lift, I'd bench, I'd do all those stuff. And then I go to East Campus. And to me, I could do whatever I wanted, because I'd already done everything I was supposed to. I do what I would call a shiny car workout, supposed to look like a shiny car, you know, the curls for the girls and then I do all the extra dumbbell bench presses and things of that nature. Like that's what I did sometimes in college just because I frickin love that stuff. And I'll never forget. There was a couple times in the NFL I'd miss a workout. I'd be at Lake McConaughey. My wife's family is from western Nebraska and I go into Ogallala — they're the closest town — and I'd go to their gym. Well the rec center where they have some weights, and I'd work out and I'd try to make up my workout as much as I could and people would look at me like who the heck is this big frickin weird dude and what's wrong with this guy? You know? But I enjoy that stuff.

I look forward to that stuff because I felt like that was the one thing I could control. I couldn't control my height. I couldn't control a lot of things, but what I could control was I getting better than the guy who'd be across the line of scrimmage for me. Was I getting better at a faster rate than he was? I felt like I could control that. Now the most amount of time I've ever taken from working off in my life is two weeks. I've had 10 surgeries, which were all wonderful. And every time you have a surgery that wants to take two weeks off from working out but then I'd be right back to it other than that, I go for weeks and I take a week off yada yada take some time off to enjoy life, ... but I'll never forget I'd be on crutches like after my ankle knee surgeries and I'd be cruising around the gym and I do a set of dumbbells and I'd crutch over to the lat pole and I'd crutch you know I'd be on my crutches you know going from workout to workout or exercise to exercise people look to me straight up crazy.

Anyways for me, what I would have done if I was a former player I would have tried to do one or two things. I would have tried, because groups of 10 or less is what we can be in right, I would have tried to get groups of 10 guys to do whatever we could do if there's no place to gather to run to lift maybe we get together in an apartment and watch film. We do pushups, situps. Now people don't want to get together, even a group of 10. I respect that I got no problem with that, there's bigger things going on then football. So I would have said hey man, let's like video chat or something or hey, did you get your workout in today? Did you do pushups? Did you do situps? Did you do bodyweight squats? Did you do jump squats? Did you do whatever you can do? Have you done something today trying to have that checks and balances within the team and within each other? Because I'm telling you this would have driven me freaking nuts as a former player to feel like I'm not getting better ergo I'm getting worse because I'm not doing anything. Is somebody else getting that advantage on me? We need to get better in some way shape or form or do the best that we can with the cards that we have been dealt.

That's how I would have approached it. Now, what's interesting is as I took this past week off of working out, it was spring break. I was going to take it off anyways but now I got to find a way to work out again all the gyms are closed. I still remember when I was 14 the first day I ever worked out, I was going to be going to be a freshman in high school and I remember sitting waiting to work out, it was about to start... all the seniors, they're gonna give us swirlies, they're gonna give us wedgies. I was so nervous. This is the first time I've ever faced something like this since I started working out. I got some prison workouts coming next week, I guess I don't know. Everyone out there stay safe. Try to find a way to put a smile on your face. Go Big Red and always remember to throw the bones!​

Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.

Omaha World-Herald: Carriker Chronicles

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Adam Carriker is a Husker Hall of Famer and NFL veteran. The former Blackshirt and Hastings native was NU's 2004 lifter of the year and in 2005 was NU's defensive MVP and a first-team All-Big 12 pick. He was a first-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft.

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