For those that play sports, be it professionally, semi-professionally, or recreationally, a physical injury can be absolutely devasting. The repercussions of suffering an injury can range from affecting their future in sports to the loss of the one hobby they truly enjoy.
Aside from the crippling pain and long recovery time, a physical injury can come with mental wounds as well.
For many, their biggest focus is to get back on the field and get back to the sport that they love. In fact, it becomes so all-encompassing that it is their only goal. The toll that this takes mentally can cause players to push themselves beyond safe limits to achieve this.
Many athletes will beat themselves up for things they had no control of, things they could have done differently. It changes the life that they know and the things they enjoy. So naturally, it comes with mental repercussions as well.
But it is very important to remember while you are healing that even though you want to get back in the game, that you have to refocus your mind.
The first step in moving on from a sport's related injury is accepting what has transpired and focusing on getting BETTER, not getting back.
It is just as important to train your mind, like you train your body, to recover from a devasting blow. It is natural to set a goal to get back to where you were before the injury, but it is imperative that you celebrate the small improvements. You can't transform yourself overnight, and by pushing yourself to that end, you can cause even more damage. Physically and mentally in the form of disappointment and discouragement.
Another step that goes hand in hand with the first is to allow yourself to be sad.
Mourn what has happened, feel the emotions that come with the physical pain. Embrace it and realize that this isn't permanent. You will move forward, and it's okay to feel heartbroken at being set back. As long as you remember to refocus and start setting some realistic goals.
Also, find something you can redirect your energy into until you can get back to your sport of choice. Athletics gives many different things to many different people. It can be a source of validation, confidence, and joy.
You can use this time off the field to learn something new and pick up a welcome distraction. Something to build your confidence back up and gives you a sense of satisfaction. Perhaps you've always wanted to draw or paint? Or learn to play an instrument? How to take apart a car engine and do some repairs? The possibilities are literally endless.
But don't remove yourself completely from the thing that you loved.
It may be hard, but sometimes spectating can be good for the healing process. Go watch your team play, be there for your teammates, because they will be there for you. If it is too hard at first, it is perfectly fine to skip this step. But perhaps consider inviting your teammates to watch other's play, to spend time together outside of sports-related activities, or to even have some that are close to you there for your exercise routines with your physical therapist. It can be a learning and bonding experience for both parties.
Don't forget, you can always head down to the bar and grab a beer, have some laughs, and catch a game on the screen.
The big takeaway from this that it will affect your life, and yes, it could have a massive effect on how you play. Even if you play again.
Taking care of your body is paramount, but don't forget to take care of your mind. You've got this!
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Have a lovely day.