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How to deal with sports injury

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We have heard many inspiring stories about athletes making a comeback after an injury. For example, Tiger Woods had his trouble with his back or Tom Brady recovered from a torn MCL and ACL and won multiple super bowls. Many other athletes have undergone surgery after an injury and made a comeback showcasing their determination and resilience.

However, the glory that they have achieved comes only after countless hours of hard physical and mental work that we, the audience, could not see.

 It is quite common that an injury might foster feelings of isolation, frustration, anxiety, and depression among athletes. This makes the process of recuperation hard. Being away from the action can affect emotional well-being, social well-being, and self-identity.

Therefore, when you are grappling with an injury and battling doubts, there are certain tips that can help you in uplifting your confidence and regaining your strength.

Psychological tips for dealing with sports injury

Set clear and realistic goals: Athletes naturally set goals that are attainable. They continuously monitor their progress for achieving results. 

However, injuries can prove to be a setback in the path of an athlete, especially when he/she is performing at their peak. 

It is essential that to keep the results attainable set SMART goals. Smart is the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Envision a healthy version of yourself: Visualizing something that you want to achieve increases the probability of it happening in reality.

Studies have shown that when we visualize something and then actually do it stimulates the same regions in our brain.

If you are recuperating from a broken ankle, imagine yourself running across a field, with fully functional and healthy feet.

If you are an athlete, you can also think of the time when you were at your peak and list out your accomplishments during that period. It will inspire and motivate you, expediting your recovery. There are many athletes who routinely use visualization for improving their performance.

Remain optimistic: Remaining optimistic is one of the best things that you could do for yourself. When we are struck by adversities, our mind gets preoccupied with negative thoughts, which further delays our recovery. 

If possible, try to chant a mantra that brings positivity around you. Try to do things that keep you engaged and keep negativity away. 

Focus on the present: Unlike us who want to feel better at present when sick, athletes want to get back into action as soon as possible. However, no matter how hard one tries, the body takes its own time to heal. 

Therefore an injured athlete should try to focus at present rather than the future, which will make him/her impatient and anxious, which will not do any good for their recovery. Rushing things will not make you fit in one day. It will take its course of time.

Accept your feelings: It is very normal that when you cannot participate in a sport that you are passionate about, despondency may begin to set in. You may miss your teammates, friends, or the feeling of contentment when you score a goal or win a game. 

There are five stages of grief a person goes through-denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Acknowledging your feelings can help in dealing with them effectively and appropriately.

Ask for help and support: Every athlete has to take the help and support of others for reaching the zenith of their performance. Especially if you are injured, you have to take the help of a therapist for regaining your strength and alleviating your troubles. 

The job of a coach or mentor is not only to enhance your performance but also to provide motivation and emotional support. Some sportsmen routinely take the help of sport psychologists for dealing with stress and anxiety that is part of playing any sport.

Conclusion

No athlete in the world gets through his/her career without sustaining any injury. Injuries are part of every sport. One cannot escape it for their entire career. There will be a time when you are at the top of your performance and come across a grievous injury. However, there are two ways you can deal with it. The first one is to become dejected and quit trying to bounce back. The second one is to accept your present situation and try to come out of it by being patient and working hard. Any successful athlete on any given day will go with the second option. Their resilience and will power drive them out of that situation and makes them stronger.

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