No one ever wants to go there. No one wants to see it happen. As brutal and grueling as sport is there is one huge likelihood….and that is that we will experience injury. Hopefully, it is just a ding…sprain…bruise…contusion…bug…or require a simple brace, ice or a little rest before we can continue to train. Hopefully, that is.
Unfortunately, sometimes these injuries are season ending. At worst, they may be career ending. We never want to talk about it and athletes who have friends in the throws of rehab will tell you they tend to avoid those friends. They are embarrassed and ashamed about it, but they hate to sit, watch, and experience vicariously the difficulties of the injured.
Dr. Eddie O’Connor penned a piece in the April 3rd, 2011 issue of Podium entitled, Really? No Pain No Gain in Sports. Eddie is a top notch sport psychologist who just happens to work a lot with rehabbing injury. He’s seen it too. The avoidance, the depression, the feeling like a victim, the sense of hopelessness, the frustration, and the incredible strain on the athlete’s support system. Its tough, to be sure.
Ironically, one of the most difficult aspects of coping with injury is handling the constantly shifting emotions from “Future Worries”….what if it doesn’t heal properly?…what if I can’t perform at the same level?…what if it takes a whole six months to get it back? The anxiety from this type of thinking is only part of the problem, because all the “regrets” comprise so much of the rest. “If I’d only done a better warm-up….I could have…..should have…..if I would have done all the X, Y, Z things, I wouldn’t be dealing with this mess now.” “Future think” is only surpassed by “Past Think” when it comes to feeling lousy after injury.
So what is the answer? Adopting a great attitude does not come before its time. We must cycle through all the stages of grief…the denial, anger, disbelief, acknowledgment, withdrawal, depression, sense of hopelessness, social isolation – right up until – we realize that that’s not helping us and in fact, all of those emotions make us feel worse. Once acceptance settles, and we begin to look around for a better way…..Then we are ready to adopt a healthier point of view.
The little girl who is pictured in the video to follow has some profound things to say about attitude, it is what follows her statements that resonate the most. My prescription for someone grappling with the throes of injury – is to watch this video EVERYDAY FOR 15 STRAIGHT DAYS – AT LEAST ONCE PER DAY. Every viewing will help us identify another aspect of our experience we can benefit from. Try this on as an attitude for recovery from injury – how about as an attitude for life:
‘Nuff said. Thanks to Louis Swartzberg for a truly wonderful inspiration.
Thanks to Elayne Daniels for sharing this with me:-)