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How to stay strong when you’re recovering from an injury
Not a day goes by without us reading about someone on the bench while they work through their injury recovery. You hope it will never be you, but the chances are if you’re invested in playing a sport, you’re likely to get an injury at some point. Statistics show 90% of student athletes report some sort of sports-related injury at one point.
It can be demoralising having to miss out, but there are ways you can make the recovery process easier on yourself.
Making problems worse
Accidents can throw us off our game. What’s worse is sometimes we have an accident unrelated to sports. For example, two years on from winning Olympic gold in hockey, Alex Danson was on holiday with her fiance and hit her head on a concrete wall by laughing too hard at a joke her fiance made. It wasn’t a car crash, and she didn’t fall from a great height, but she knew something wasn’t right.
Danson said, “I’m an athlete. We spend our life pretending we’re fine because you want to compete.”
But, she found out the hard way that ignoring an injury can have major consequences. A few weeks later, Danson temporarily lost the ability to speak and read, was bed-ridden, and could hardly walk to the bathroom. She couldn’t bear light, sound, or touch because she ignored her head injury. Her recovery is still ongoing after nine months. She visits her teammates once a week, assuring them she will make a full recovery.
54% of student athletes reveal they have played sport while injured. By doing so, we risk allowing an injury to get worse, re-injuring ourselves, and hugely extending the recovery time. By ignoring a concussion from her holiday, Danson will unlikely be joining the GB or England team this hockey season to break any more records.
Staying strong through recovery
Dealing with injuries as a sports player, especially at the professional level, is difficult. Not only is your love for playing on the line but so is your livelihood, which can make sitting out feel like you’re letting your team and yourself down. In reality, this is why making sure you’re quick to recognise injuries and follow professional medical advice during recovery is essential. It’s the only way if you want to get back to competing as soon as possible.
It can seem like time is moving slower but staying headstrong will pay off in the long run. You need to:
- Keep perspective - Getting injured sucks, yes, but you need to accept it won’t be business as usual from here. You might be angry and frustrated, which are normal feelings in this case, but put it into perspective. Your injury seems huge now, but in a few years, it will be nothing more than a blip in your sports history. Recovery is a small price to pay for a long life of competing.
- Follow your rehabilitation programme - It’s designed by experts so you can get back out there as soon as possible. If you think you know better than your doctor, the chances are you don’t. If something isn’t working for you, talk to your doctor and get their advice on where to go from there.
- Redirect your energy - Just because you’re not on the pitch doesn’t mean you’re not a part of the team. Support your teammates, encourage them, help train them, and focus your energy on becoming a better athlete mentally even if physically it’s out of the question.
Going through recovery is difficult, but not as difficult as dealing with permanent damage which can happen if you don’t take your rehabilitation seriously. Know this isn’t permanent and, with the right help, it’ll be no time before you’re back giving it your all.
There’s nothing more important than an athlete’s health. That’s why OPRO has developed a unique mouthguard incorporating innovative technology allowing coaches to monitor the impact from tackles and collisions from the sidelines with real-time data capture, ensuring athletes stay safe and healthy in the game. For more information on our OPRO+ mouthguard, visit our website.