How to Cope with a Sports InjuryHow to Cope with Sports Injury

By Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal

When you’re passionate about playing a sport or have a workout routine that you’re sticking to and is part of your routine—there’s nothing more disheartening than getting sidelined by an injury. The stress that comes along with it is both physical and psychological, requiring a lot of patience and resilience as you cope and recover.

It’s why losing the ability to play a sport or engage in regular; physical activity causes feelings of grief. After all, as you recover, it’s as if you’re mourning the loss of this daily activity in your life. The range of emotions might include denial, anger, sadness, and even depression. It feels unfair and can make you spiral into a “why me?” or “woe is me” mentality. But the best way to overcome this type of setback is to force yourself to break away from the negativity and grasp the power of positivity. Don’t discount how very much a positive attitude is key in making a full recovery and coming out of the injury, feeling more focused, flexible, and resilient than ever before.

It may sound easier said than done, but the steps to get there are quite manageable and straightforward. To start, take the time to learn about your injury—arm yourself with information such as the cause, treatment, and prevention. Use that arsenal of knowledge to ask your medical provider thoughtful questions. You’ll ease your anxiety by understanding what to expect and fully understand what’s needed to heal quickly and fully. Having information provides a sense of control in what could otherwise be perceived as an out of control situation. It’s a way to take responsibility for your injury in the sense that it’s on you to diligently follow what’s been prescribed. You have the power to heal your body.

But, while you’re on the path to recovery, setbacks are to be expected. Having some good days and some bad ones is normal. That’s where you can start monitoring your self-talk. That’s when you can make a conscious effort to keep hyping yourself up and stay positive even when weathering a rough patch. Remain focused on what you need to do, not what you’ re missing out on and imagine yourself healed and back to your full athletic ability - envisioning the recovery outcome that you most desire goes a long way in turning it into a reality.

Don’t be afraid to find support. Stay in touch with fellow teammates, coaches, instructors, and workout buddies while you recover. Use their support to motivate yourself—never isolate yourself or think anyone is taking pity on you. You’ll find it’s the opposite and chances are you’ll hear stories from others who’ve been through similar situations. Let them motivate you with their successes. And finally, set goals throughout your recovery process and be sure to take note whenever you meet one. Noticing—and celebrating—every improvement, no matter how small, will do wonders for your confidence and determination and get you back in the game!

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