Although we love the sports that we do, inherently they do increase our risk of injury. Often we focus on the physical side of injury; resting the injured part of our body, going through necessary treatment, focussing on recovery. And even the questions we might face from others during a period of injury are likely to be focussed specifically on our physical health.
But there is a very psychological aspect to injury too. Some things you may experience;
- Missing the sport
- Feeling lonely because missing your peers
- Loss of identity
- Coping with staying fit (weight gain or muscle loss)
What Can You Do?
Keep informed about your injury so you can be realistic about how long you’ll be away from sport for.
Allow Yourself to Feel
Allow yourself to feel how you are feeling, but seek help if it becomes difficult to manage - counselling could be an option in such situations. Being aware of the symptoms of mental health challenges can be helpful to identify when the struggle is becoming overwhelming
Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Opening up and speaking to others about what you are going through can enable them to better support you.
The Experiences of Others
Speak with other athletes about how they coped with injury in the past. Injury is a common occurrence and understanding the experiences of others may help you to feel less alone, and provide you with reassurance.
Use the Time
Think of the time away from sport as an opportunity to explore other interests (but do not pressure yourself to do so - you are not obliged to be ‘productive’ in your recovery period). This could also be a crucial time for self-care you may otherwise feel you don't have the capacity to engage in.
Stay Engaged With Your Sport
Explore other opportunities to be involved with your sport while you are unable to participate fully. Could you volunteer with event organisation, admin, or sideline coaching for example?
Finally, be conscious of how you treat others with injuries too - if you’re aware that the injury period can be problematic and distressing, reach out to others when you are fit and they are the injured ones