An injury can be devastating for an athlete. Recovery time can take them out of action for extended periods, and bring about things like physical therapy and emotional anguish.
Though it may feel hopeless and challenging at times, there are many ways athletes can get back on their feet both mentally and physically.
Here are some pointers on how to come back from an injury.
Stay true to your therapy
You may hit a point in physical therapy where you feel you’ve done all you can – don’t stop there.
Even if you’re feeling good you’ll want to heed the prescribed program of your therapist. It’s allotted for a specific amount of time for a reason, so follow through.
Know that after the physical pain is gone there’s more work to do. Your body may be feeling good but your mind needs time to catch up. Recovery is truly a mental game.
Expect the unexpected
You will hit many bumps in the road to recovery, and that’s ok. Accept that it’s a natural part of the process.
Mentally preparing yourself for setbacks will make them much easier to handle when they arise.
Surround yourself with support
You can’t do recovery alone. It takes a village to get an athlete back to performance shape.
This includes medical care, physical therapy, and simply family and friends who are encouraging and understanding of your situation.
You can let yourself get upset
There’s no use in pushing your true feelings to the side; it only causes harm long-term.
It’s ok to sink into feelings of sadness or being upset, but only for a little while. Acknowledge how you feel and then prepare yourself to move forward. Utilize your emotions to build upon them and make a solid foundation for handling the future.
Don’t get back into it too fast
When you truly love doing something, you’ll want to jump into it headfirst after being away for an extended period of time. While it’s tempting, it’s not smart.
Diving straight into acting the way you did prior to injury can just invite another injury – one that might be worse.
Ease yourself back into the sport.
Have a plan
The most important thing to have when returning from injury is a solid plan, for both your emotional and physical needs.
What is your timeframe to get back to performance from before injury? Who can you turn to when you’re feeling low? Do you have medical teams in place for all aspects of your recovery? What is your plan if the injury flames up again?
Be patient with yourself
It’s one thing to have patience with those who surround and support it; it might almost come easily. What doesn’t, however, is having patience with yourself.
Be compassionate towards you and ask yourself, “Would I act this way/say these things to a friend who is in my position and recovering?”
If the answer is no, curb the behavior immediately. Be proud of how far you’ve come since your injury, and have a positive outlook on the future.