Worst injuries or sickness you've had and you still played?

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I've never been one to back down from an obligation. I've played with a lot sickness and injury over the past 25 years including back problems, the flu, busted ankle, colds, stomach problems, dry socket/wisdom tooth pain, etc.

I think the worst is that I played while coming down with Covid last year over Christmas. The band had booked a place to shoot a promo video last December, and I started out the day feeling pretty bad, but no big deal. I get sick every December due to stress, and so I thought it was just a cold or whatever I usually get. The further I drove to the site, the worse I felt, but I knew that substantial money had been spent getting this venue to video in, so I soldiered on.

I walked in, and I told everyone to stay away from me and sweat started to drip from all over. I was having to sit every couple of minutes because I was so exhausted all of a sudden. I played my notes and got out of there as quickly as I did. If I knew I had Covid, I would have never left the house, but it hit me so fast I had no idea. Not only did I feel bad physically, the guilt that I carried with me of putting everyone in danger haunted me. Out of all of the times I played sick or hurt, this was definitely one time I should have stayed at home, but I simply didn't know. When people rely on me, I have to be there.

What's the worst case of sickness or injury that you've played through?
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
All sorts of stuff, but never cancelled.

Used to get the flu every year, but after getting into the medicinal shrooms many years ago I don't. No flu, no cold, no nothing.
 

moodman

Well-known Member
I dislocated my left elbow, fell off a loading dock at work, caught myself but the pop was so loud the other drivers heard it down the dock. ER and strong pain pills got it back in place.
Played a gig the next day, one set and I was actually able to play alright, pretty sore when the set was over.
I had a migraine headache at one gig, it sort of went away during songs but between them I sat there in intense discomfort.
The great actress Helen Hayes spoke of " Doctor Stage" the phenomenon where performers are sick but while performing, they feel fine. I've spoke with others that have had this occur, maybe reciprocal energy from the audience? Could be.

EDIT: I forgot the worst which is right now, degeneration in my lower neck and left shoulder and lower back, the bones look like piles of rubble. I do 35 minutes of stretches and exercises twice a day so I can hobble around like Tim Conway. Things is I can still play fine, though my right grip location is numb some, at 75 I can still do it, I've played 3 gigs this fall. wah wah, I'm done.
 
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C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
I fell prey to a virus of some sort on a Thursday night, with a gig scheduled the next evening. I slept on Friday until 6:00 p.m., awakening in a daze and depleted of energy. Somehow, I harnessed the will to rise from the ruins, driving to my band's practice space, breaking down and loading my gear, and heading off to the venue. I'd eaten nothing in twenty-four hours and cringed even at the thought of drinking water, though I forced myself to hydrate. Miraculously, I pulled through just fine and felt much better the next day.

I still marvel that I was able to plow forth and accomplish the mission. I was a lot younger then. Now, I'd probably just stay in bed. In some ways, I've become sensible to a fault. Defying nature has its benefits at times.
 

moodman

Well-known Member
When I played every weekend, I noticed that I would be kind of low energy all day Friday but, at gig time, would feel energized. Like subconsciously I was saving my energy for the gig.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Full on flu. I had taken so much Dayquil to get through the show I'm surprised I didn't pass out.
Loaded up, headed home, threw my gear into the living room & proceeded to sleep for the next 15 hours straight over the weekend.
 

Ruok

Silver Member
Mine was a migraine during a church gig. I thought that it went well considering. But when I got the recording of the music the following week, to my surprise, I totally screwed up the beginning of a song and didn't even realize it. The guitar started the song and when the time came for me to join in, well, I had placed the backbeat on the downbeat and downbeat on the backbeat. The other musicians picked up relatively quickly the fact that I was off and they changed their rhythm to match with me. They never said anything, and if it wasn't recorded I wouldn't have known that I messed up at all.
 

caddywumpus

Archnemesis of Larryace
One time I got a sudden case of food poisoning while playing the first set. I had to go explosive twosies so bad, but managed to hold it in.

Another time, I suspected I broke my wrist, but had a gig that night. Playing actually made it feel better, as the motion brought down the swelling. I went to the hospital the next day and got it confirmed—scaphoid fracture and radius greenstick fracture.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
many times with food poisoning; the flu; colds; real bad allergies in the fall and spring

until about 5 years ago, I was also always nursing some kind of twist, bruise, sprain etc from playing hockey and or riding MTB and BMX...thhere were times where I had to play "Rick Allen" style due to an arm injury, or use my left foot for bass drum b/c my right was hurt somehow...I just usually adapted.

I slammed my fingers in the door the night before gig on bass one time, and had to play with that injury...that was probably the most painful I can remember...and playing with bruised ribs also hurt...but more in the load in/out for the most part

I have never has to cancel a gig though...just play through the pain/situation
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Other than tales of being sick similar to what others have posted, I once did opening week of a musical with two broken toes - which I broke at a cast party by jumping in a pool after one too many drinks. Nobody to blame but myself... and that wasn't the bass drum pedal squeaking with every stroke.
 

Al Strange

Platinum Member
Flu is the worst I’ve ever had to contend with and I’ve played a couple of shows on a wing and a prayer somehow playing through it; the only gig I ever cancelled was due to gargantuan gastro-flu that was so bad I literally couldn’t move!! It was back when I was gigging a lot and looking back I was pretty exhausted and not getting enough sleep generally; my immune system was completely shot and saying, “Hey! Back the heck up, slow down and get some rest!” 🤒
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
Kidney stones.

from what I have seen...

Screw. That.

my boss gets those real bad once a year. It puts him out for a week...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
Flu is the worst I’ve ever had to contend with and I’ve played a couple of shows on a wing and a prayer somehow playing through it; the only gig I ever cancelled was due to gargantuan gastro-flu that was so bad I literally couldn’t move!! It was back when I was gigging a lot and looking back I was pretty exhausted and not getting enough sleep generally; my immune system was completely shot and saying, “Hey! Back the heck up, slow down and get some rest!🤒

back in the days of "punk rock van touring", I got to be the same way...but the brash stupidity of youth made me not realize hhow sick I was sometimes...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
Mono. People thought I was on drugs the way I looked at the gig. When I got back home after two weeks sleeping and had a bad back pain went to the doctor and found that I had a swollen spleen also. He told me that's sometime commen with Mono. Was out of action for six very long months.

I have had many students in the past have to repeat a year of school b/c of getting mono that bad
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
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