Athletes coping with injuries – how to get back on the field after being sidelined

Athletes do not remember how their life was before getting into sport. Through many years of training you have improved your technique, endurance and strength. You have done your best to become the best in your sport, and your competitors consider you a true force. You use your free time to practice and your best days are the ones when you perform. Your greatest passion is to compete, because being an athlete is who you are.

And one day the unthinkable happens, and you hope that it is not a major injury, but the doctor informs you that you are not allowed to get back on the field for a couple of months. Your first impression is that it will not be a big deal, because you only felt a little tenderness and some pain. How many times have you experienced pain after a training? Probably multiple times. But when you visit a sports medicine specialist, they claim that you have some health issue you do not even understand how it is called, because it is all Greek to you.

Understand what your injury involves

You are a serious athlete, so you already know that the pain you feel right now is nothing compared with the rehab process. You find devastating the fact that you will have to give up on training and performances. There are very few the cases when the source of pain is found and treated, without the patient to need recovery. And recovery is a slow process, and it will keep you away from the field for a long period. Also, the coach is not helpful when it comes to diminishing your mental anguish, because they push you to come back as soon as possible if you do not want to lose all your progress. In order to lessen your anxiety and fear, you should learn more about the injury that affects you. It is important to know what questions you should ask your therapist.

  • What can you tell me about my injury?
  • Will the recovery take more than a month?
  • How will the treatment help me recover?
  • What stages will I follow during the rehab period?
  • Can I do alternative workouts?
  • What signs should worry me?

If you understand what the treatment and rehab period implies, then you will know what to expect from the following period, and you will have a greater sense of control on your state.

Yes, you can be sad

Who says that you cannot mourn the loss you experience right now? This is not the moment to act macho and strong, you will feel better in the future if you allow yourself to be sad for a few days. If you hide your feelings, they will interfere with the recovery process. You should not focus on ‘what would have happened if’. Yes, you will ask yourself if there is something you should have done to prevent the injury, but you should not spend all your energy on this. This is the reality you live right now, and you should learn to deal with it.

Maintain your fitness even if you are injured

Only because you are injured, it does not mean that you cannot train. It all depends on your type of injury. According to it you will have to modify your fitness routine, and to find alternative exercises. Now is the moment to collaborate with your therapist, trainer, or physician and to build a workout program that helps you maintain your fitness and help you heal. In the majority of cases if you are not allowed to run, you will be able to swim. Also, you should focus on relaxation and flexibility exercises, because they are part of a strength workout. Also, you should pay more attention to your nutritional health during this period, because what you eat and drink can hasten the recovery process.

Your mind can heal your body

More and more studies show that the healing process can be speeded up if you use your mental skills. You should try alternative treatments as hypnosis and imagery to deal with this period. When it comes to imagery techniques they help you create mental feelings and images that relate to a result you want to obtain. If you cannot do it by your own, then you should work with a psychologist, because they understand the ramifications of the mind of an injured person, and they know how to work with them. Support during the recovery period is essential. Also, you should not ignore alternative treatments, because there are multiple methods you can access in order to speed up the process.

Set realistic goals

The majority of athletes have the tendency to set unrealistic goals when they begin the recovery process. They think that they will be able to get back to performing faster than the doctor stated. Well, this is the moment when you have to learn to measure your success in millimetres and not in kilometres as you used to do it until now. No one will hide the fact that you will have to work hard to build your endurance and strength. So you should talk with your therapist and set new goals together. They are the ones who can assess your state and can help you recover.

Do your best to follow the physical therapy

Your doctor will definitely establish a physical therapy that has the purpose to help you recover, so you should be an active part of the process. You should make sure that you follow the recommendations they make, and you do not try to cut corners. If you work hard during the rehab period you will be able to perform sooner than you have expected. Also, you should know that imagery proves to be very helpful in this case, because if you imagine for a few minutes daily that the injured area of your body is healthy it will help you feel more positive and in control.