Mental Recovery From a Sports Injury

A coach getting ready to instruct his team - The Becoming Counseling

When an athlete suffers a serious sports injury, it often seems as if their whole world stops. All the thrill of competition, physical activity, and the camaraderie with teammates comes to a sudden halt. The individual must focus on healing, and this can cause a wide range of emotional issues that can cause them difficulty. We can help recover mentally from injury, and help these individuals maintain a positive attitude during the recovery period. 

Effects of Injury Are Not Just Physical

Physical injury can result from a wide range of athletic activities. Strains, sprains, tears and even broken bones can occur. Athletes may deal with periods of inactivity, pain, rigorous physical therapy and other issues. But these injuries can also affect an athlete’s mental health in a variety of ways. You may experience these emotions and not realize they are related to the injury and the healing process. 

How An Injury Can Affect Your Emotions and Mental Health

Feeling angry about the injury is a frequent problem, along with sadness, feelings of isolation from teammates and irritability. Injured athletes may become bored, feel frustrated at the lack of progress or may even experience depression that can cause sleep problems, changes in eating and lack of motivation. Other individuals may experience fear of re-injury that impedes their full recovery and prevents them from getting back to their top performance levels. These issues can be addressed in sports recovery counseling, to help them recover mentally from injury and return to their optimum performance. 

Ensuring You Recover Mentally From Injury

Many athletes who experience a sports injury may experience a feeling of powerlessness because of the restrictions imposed by their injury. You can take a proactive approach to getting back to top form by following these tips.

  • Accept your current state of injury and own your responsibility for self-care. Make a conscious effort to listen to your body, to rest when it is appropriate and gradually regain your strength and ability, as you body heals. 


  • Honor your emotions about your injury. You may feel separated from teammates, out of the loop of the action and frustrated by the inability to perform. In fact, the injury is a type of loss, and you should be prepared for a variety of emotions related to your change of circumstances.


  • Focus your efforts on the present. Your injury may require a certain amount of rest and patience to allow proper healing. Accept this break in your usual patterns and fill the healing time with meaningful hobbies.


  • Maintain an attitude of optimism. Healing from an injury, and the time required to recover from it, can lead to being overwhelmed with negative thoughts. Use positive affirmations to keep your attitude optimistic, and you will find your body follows the suggestions of the mind. 


  • Visualize yourself back to full health. Visualization is a method that is used to help many patients, to help them maintain a healthy outlook during the healing process and to help them return to normal function. 


  • Set realistic goals for the present. Athletes want to hurry the process of healing, so they can get back to their sport. However, doing too much, too soon can lead to setbacks that undermine your progress. Set realistic goals that are specific, measurable, attainable at the present time and time-bound in duration. The activities should be relevant to your current state of ability and your tastes. 

If you are a committed athlete, you are likely to experience a number of minor and major injuries over time. Physical recovery is only part of the process of getting back to top form. You must also deal with the psychological issues that can prevent your from giving your all to your sport. The Becoming can help with sports recovery therapy that frees you from your worries and concerns, give us a call


Wes Cain, LPCA, NCC, IHC



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