In case anybody reads these articles having not played squash before I would like to confirm, just in case there is doubt, that the game is tough. It really takes its toll, and I am not alluding exclusively to the effects on professional players, though at the end of it all they perhaps emerge from the wreckage with the deepest scars.
Amateur players are often blighted with niggles and they tell me so, craving a magic answer. I am not a physiotherapist so it is not my place to be diagnosing or offering solutions, but the amount of work professional players put in off the court (advised by our strength and conditioning coaches and physios) is vast and time-consuming. It is our day job though, and it is far harder for amateur players to devote precious time to expensive physio sessions and conditioning workouts when they just want to play the game.
Most of the off-court work I do is in part an insurance policy, which I hope will offset the damage I have inflicted on my body over 25 years, during which I have dragged the poor thing relentlessly around a glass box in to positions it was never designed to make.
The following are examples of recent squash retirees' experiences: my Vanessa is, after a long career, presently prostrate on a sofa unable to move because of a debilitating and repetitive back injury. Anthony Ricketts, Chris Robertson, Rodney Martin and Lee Beachill are a few big names who have had their careers cut short by injuries, and Geoff Hunt and Jonah Barrington, legends in the 70s and 80s, both had hip replacements, and you might know it if you saw them walk today.
In to my 30th year, I am slightly perturbed by the fact that I am (if lucky) well down the back straight of my sporting career but to think of retiring in to a life of inactivity through chronic injury is more upsetting still.
Michael Vaughan presented a thought-provoking programme on the BBC recently exploring the subject of retirement of well-known sports personalities and how they have dealt with the mental implications, and revealed how many athletes just cannot cope with the void that quite suddenly exists and needs to be filled, by what they don't know.
And I would guess the strange world of retirement is faced with even greater apprehension if there is added physical decapitation to endure. I will endeavour to enjoy and savour every day I can as a squash player, and hope it will not be my ruin!
Follow James Willstrop on Twitter: www.twitter.com/james_willstrop