Five ways for an athlete to emotionally survive an injury

I’ve been a typical athlete since the age of three. When I suffered a major injury on the soccer field freshman year it was more than physical pain that I had to overcome. These are the five ways I have been able to mentally survive this injury.

1.     Don’t lose hope if you aren’t where you thought you would be at this point in time. When I got hurt there was no timeline, and I found that the biggest struggle is finding patience. Initially, I thought that I would be back on the field within the month, but that was not the case. After I learned to focus and appreciate each small improvement in my recovery process, I realized that I was slowly getting better.

2.     Pour yourself into something else. The best way to survive an injury is to throw yourself into something new. Find a community service group to be passionate about, an art to take up or maybe find a sport that is less demanding on the injured part of your body.

3.     Decide whether you want to get updates for friends about the team’s success or not. Some people can cope better with not being able to play when they are informed about the team. Other athletes find it more difficult to hear about the team when they cannot play. Learn what helps you feel better.

4.     Think positively. Any situation is made worse with a negative attitude. Our bodies heal at their own rates, but positive thinking makes the waiting process more survivable.

5.     Listen to your doctors and to your body. Don’t push yourself past what you can handle. Your body will tell you when it is maxed out, and you have to listen to prevent further injury. Likewise, doctors may refuse to clear you to play sports despite your desire to return. They have a reason for this and are looking out for your best interest. Most of all tell you doctor what your body is feeling. The only way that a doctor can best treat an injury is by accurate descriptions of the pain. Be honest with your doctor and yourself.