An injured athlete is faced with many difficulties and numerous sacrifices. When he is injured he cannot take part in sporting events, he will be affected both by his leading role and by his economic income. 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 his head. In addition to pain, it is the time that will have to be used in rehabilitation that can sometimes be more frightening.
It is clear to a professional that the negative aspects of an accident are greater. Spending time outside competitions means shortening your career. Moreover, the injured professional will not receive money from prizes or participation in sporting events and the opponents will be able to take advantage of his absence.
As for the economic aspect, they will both lose out. The amateur for the costs of rehabilitation and the professional for the competitions in which he cannot participate.
How psychology can help us overcome an injury
In order for psychology to help us overcome an injury, we need to address some fundamental steps. Below we will provide you with important information on the steps to follow:
1. Accept the fact that you are injured
An extremely common mistake made by many athletes is to minimize or even neglect the injury. For example, instead of talking about ” injuries ” we prefer to say that there is a “muscle contraction”.
One of the main reasons why this happens concerns the ego sphere: athletes do not like to be considered weak or vulnerable. Showing pain or not being able to compete is inadmissible.
Moreover, not admitting the degree of the injury can be useful both to doctors and coaches, who can make the competitive activity resume in advance (or at least they try). What is not taken into consideration is that this is a double-edged sword: it is more the times that it goes wrong than the times when it goes well.
2. The organization
Surely, the first thing to do after an accident is to consult specialists and establish a personalized recovery plan with clear and precise objectives.
It is very important that the athlete is aware of what happened. He must be perfectly aware of the factors triggering the accident and what are the necessary conditions for his rehabilitation.
Deciding on the dates for each objective will free your mind from the calculations related to a possible early return and will allow you to focus on what is important: recover as completely as possible.
3. Rehabilitation is part of the training
There are some aspects that an athlete should know. In every year of activity, it is practically impossible not to have any injury, small or large.
Therefore, both the rehabilitation exercises and the days in which one is obliged to stand still must be experienced for what they are: the other side of the sporting season.
Without a doubt, the goal is to minimize them. How to do? Which is the right recipe? First of all, precautions must be taken to avoid injuries. In the event that they should happen, one must commit oneself and remain focused and motivated throughout the period of rehabilitation.
4. Ask a professional for help in managing the rehabilitation phase
If we are convinced that psychology can help in the recovery of an injury, we can do nothing but turn to a professional. With some sessions, the athlete can learn to cope with the anxiety and discomfort of being injured.
You will feel more confident when you return to resume sports. This is an important aspect because relapses are frequent and can sometimes become a chronic problem for some athletes.
Usually, some of the recommendations that are given to address the rehabilitation period are:
- Ask for help. Don’t shut yourself up and try to do everything yourself.
- Think positive and see a happy return to sporting activity.
- 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 does not only affect the quality of life: it can also be a trigger that causes sports injuries. How are these two elements connected?
Before important engagements 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 can cause injury at certain times.
In short, not only can psychology help us recover from injury, but it can also play a key role in preventing some of the factors that determine it. Don’t be closed: open your mind and take advantage of these consolidated techniques in order to reduce idle periods to a minimum.