collegiate runner -
I have zero medical credentials, so take anything I say with a grain of salt.
I'm 59 yrs-old pickup basketball player. My very first symptom, almost exactly a year ago, was I noticed pain in lower abdomen, about an inch below my navel, with each sit-up I did. So I simply decided to stop doing situps. I continued to play basketball for about 5 months after that with zero problems, doing great. Then I started playing almost every day instead of my usual once or twice per week, and came down with typical sports hernia.
Knowing what I know now, I WISH I WOULD HAVE:
1. Immediately started working on my core muscles, but very, very gently the abdominal muscles. For example standing tricep pull-downs with only 3 or 4 pounds instead of 30 or 40 lbs. Weights low enough that I would feel zero pain below my navel, but still feel my abdominals engaging, and doing some work, if only a little tiny bit of work.
I wish I would have started sucking in my belly for several minutes, gradually building up to where I sucked it in almost all the time every day.
For my side muscles (love handle area) I wish I would have started hanging a 30 lb. dumbbell in my right hand, standing erect, then bending my torso to the left so that I could feel my left side core muscles (love handle area) working.
And I wish I would have immediately started doing some work on my back muscles, maybe very, very light dead-lifts or something.
2. I wish I would have immediately slowed down my basketball game, maybe to only once per week, and no competitive games, just very light stuff to keep my blood circulating well.
I think if I would have done those 2 things, i.e., gently and patiently increased the strength of my core muscles (front, back, left side, right side, and corset) over a couple of months, I probably would have prevented my falling into the abyss of sports hernia.
Like I say, take this with a grain of salt, collegiate runner. Remember, everybody in this forum is an addict. Every single one of us. We are addicted to the endorphins produced by vigorous sports activity. Good luck.