An injured athlete is faced with many difficulties and numerous sacrifices. When he is injured he cannot participate in sporting events, both his leading role and economic income will suffer. For these reasons it is important to know to what extent psychology can contribute to the recovery of an injury.
Just look at the face of someone who has just suffered an injury to notice the negative thoughts that go through their heads. In addition to the pain, it is the time that will have to be spent in rehabilitation that can sometimes be more frightening.
For a professional it is clear that the negative aspects of an injury are greater. Spending time out of competition means shortening your career. Furthermore, the injured professional will not receive money from prizes or participation in sporting events and opponents will be able to take advantage of his absence.
How psychology can help us overcome an injury
In order for psychology to help us overcome an injury, some basic steps must be taken. Below we will provide you with important information on the steps to follow:
1. Accept that you are injured
An extremely common mistake made by many athletes is to minimize or even neglect the injury. For example, instead of speaking of “injuries” we prefer to say that there is a “muscle contracture”.
One of the main reasons why this happens is in the ego sphere: athletes don’t like to be considered weak or vulnerable. Showing pain or not being able to compete is inadmissible.
Furthermore, not admitting the degree of the injury can be useful to both doctors and coaches, who can make competitive activity (or at least try to) resume early. What is not taken into consideration is that this is a double-edged sword: more times it goes wrong than times it goes well.
2. The organization
Surely, the first thing to do after an injury is to consult with specialists and establish a personalized recovery plan with clear and precise objectives.
It is very important that the athlete is aware of what has happened. He must know perfectly the factors triggering the injury and what are the conditions necessary for his rehabilitation.
3. Rehabilitation is part of the training
There are some things an athlete should know about. In every year of activity it is practically impossible not to have some injury, whether small or large.
Therefore, both the rehabilitation exercises and the days in which one is forced to stay still must be lived for what they are: the other side of the sporting season.
Undoubtedly, the goal is to minimize them. How to do? What is the right recipe? First of all, precautions must be taken to avoid injuries. Should this happen, you need to commit and stay focused and motivated throughout the rehabilitation period.
4. Ask for help from a professional to manage the rehabilitation phase
If we are convinced that psychology can help in recovering from an injury, we can only turn to a professional. With a few sessions the athlete will be able to learn to deal with the anxiety and discomfort of being injured.
Usually, some of the recommendations that are given to deal with the rehabilitation period are:
- Ask for help. Don’t close in on yourself and try to do everything yourself.
- Think positive and visualize a happy return to sports.
- Relax: the injury must be interpreted as a necessary stop, but also as an opportunity to do something else. Clear your mind and stay busy.
5. Psychology as a preventive tool
Stress doesn’t just affect quality of life – it can also be a trigger for sports injuries. How are these two elements connected?
Before important commitments or during a tournament, athletes accumulate tension, nervousness and anxiety. These conditions, as you surely know, have a direct influence on the functioning of the body and muscles.
Not being relaxed and the production of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline at certain times can cause an injury.
In short, not only can psychology help us recover from injury, it can also play a vital role in preventing some of the factors that cause it. Don’t be closed: open your mind and take advantage of these established techniques to reduce downtime to a minimum.