A sports injury can be a big worry for athletes, especially if they’ve been involved in their sport for a long time and it’s all they’ve ever known. However, there are a few tips athletes can use to counter injuries, so they can get back to their best in no time.
Allow Yourself To Mourn
Suppressing your feelings about your injury can stop you from coping and recovering properly. Your emotions are a strong part of the recovery process, and to feel is to heal.
Deal With What Happened
Don’t focus on “what could have been”, “what ifs” or “if onlys”. Spending lots of time and energy on these will prevent you from recovering successfully. Deal with things as they are now.
Set New Goals
You may want to have a rethink about what you want to achieve, as you will measure your successes very differently to the way you did before the injury. You might start from scratch, and set new goals to build up your strength in the meantime. Then you can set about achieving your old goals when you come back from injury.
Your perspective on your situation is everything. Being positive can speed up your recovery process and heal your emotional pain. Being negative is unhelpful, and prohibits you from recovering as well as making you sad.
Continue To Exercise
Please continue to exercise if your recovery permits you to, or you can work out “mentally”. Visualise yourself competing in your sport, and also mentally deal with weaknesses you may have. You could even go to your usual training sessions and watch other people train, and mentally rehearse what exercises they are doing. You will find yourself able to do these when you return to your sessions.
Don’t isolate yourself. You need the support of your teammates during an uncertain time, so continue to be involved with them during your time out. If necessary, seeking professional help from a counsellor is also a good idea.
Use Your Skills In Other Areas Of Your Life
You will have learnt many strong skills as an athlete, such as dedication, perseverance and discipline. These can be used in other challenges outside your sport. They are life skills, and they are still relevant and useful in the real world.
You need to allow yourself to heal properly if your injury is temporary. Don’t rush your recovery, or you might injure yourself more seriously which will keep you out even longer. Allow yourself to recover slowly so you will return to full fitness sooner rather than later.
Goldberg. A; ‘THE MENTAL SIDE OF ATHLETIC INJURIES’, www.competitivedge.com, April 2016.