5 Useful Steps to Overcome Sports Injuries
By Nina Syahira
January 16, 2014
Photo sourced from sportsecrets.net
When you engage in any type of sport, there are always risks involved. Constantly keeping them in mind is a trait of a responsible player or competitor. So when you find yourself feeling prolonged pain after a sporting activity, you should stop and listen to your body. Sometimes, injuries happen when you ignore the warning signs that an unusual aching is giving you.
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But there is an even darker side of sports which is when accidents occur like the ones in this wince-inducing list and this (Warning: Graphic picture content). Just recently, the world of mixed martial arts went into shock when they witnessed the gruesome moment of Anderson Silva’s leg snapping (Warning: Graphic video content) after executing a leg kick which his opponent Chris Weidman checked out of defense. The career-threatening injury ended what Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White dubbed “the biggest fight we’ve ever done”. Even a non-contact sport like skiing has its dangers too. Michael Schumacher, the legendary Formula One driver, crashed after skiing off a trail and landed in a coma with critical head injuries.
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Your physical health can be at stake here when it comes to sports injuries. So when doctors give you the order to sit on the sidelines for a while, the first step is to accept the fact that you need to recuperate. During this time, you may be advised against training so as not to worsen your condition. However, it is important to remember that injuries can also affect you mentally especially when sports make up a major part of your life. Some may develop a fear of not being able to play or compete anymore, affecting their daily habits. This can even lead to a loss of identity, trauma and depression.
So, how do you overcome or prevent this entire ordeal after getting injured? Here is our 5 step-by-step approach guide you can take to be the fighter that you are and need to be.
1. Mourn & Move On
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A sports injury may leave both physical and mental scars. Depending on the severity of impact it has on you, the psychological effect may take the form of a bigger hindrance than it should in your recovery. If you need some time before you can pull yourself back out of this grief, allow yourself to do so. Some people may find it unnecessary but this healing journey can only start with you and you need to be in the right frame of mind to get through it. The most important thing here is to remember to look towards the future by setting new goals for yourself. Whether the injury affects you by a little or a lot, be realistic when concentrating on what you want to achieve next and not what you used to.
2. Rest & Rehab
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After all the times you have pushed yourself to improve in training or win a competition, this is when you need to slow down instead and take a break. Be patient and allow yourself to heal properly so that you can return to your normal routine again. Understanding the effects of the injury is essential for the road to recovery. Seek advice from your doctor and physical therapist so as to recuperate properly and not aggravate the injury any further.
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Certain injuries follow a specific program or surgery. For example, for injured knees, the recovery method is known as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Some would also turn to a different type of fitness activity like pilates that offers rehabilitative effects. Not only will it help heal your injuries but also keep you fit and active during your down time. Also, don’t forget to have plenty of rest!
3. Change Your Focus
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There is no reason to stay at home if you can still do something when injured. Take up other activities like coaching, sports announcing or even an interest that is completely unrelated to sports. Use this time to pursue an old fulfilling hobby. But if your injury is more severe, you can stay at home and still prepare for when you are well and up again. It may seem odd at first but you can try imagining yourself practise or train like how you normally would and your body will react to this mental picture and work as if you are actually there. Another way to stay fit is through your diet so don’t neglect that part just because you are not as physically active!
4. Seek Help
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Sometimes you need more guidance than you think and it is perfectly okay, encouraged even, to ask for it. Clarify with your doctor about the things you need to do for a smooth recovery. Turn to your family and friends to relieve the stress from trying to get better again with communication. Don’t be afraid or shy to seek for their involvement either; there’s no need to be alone in this. Avoid isolating yourself from others especially when they offer help as this can worsen your mental condition which may in turn affect your healing process.
5. Face the Fear
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Besides becoming fitter, sports also benefit us by building up character strength and self-confidence. So when you have no choice but to sit on the sidelines for a while, you may worry that you might not be back on the same track as before. That fear of not being able to do the sport you love again will start to twist your mind and darken your thoughts. But you’re tougher than that so unleash your inner fighting spirit and give it a nice solid superman punch to the face! Stare down the intimidating curve of Recuperation Road and adopt a positive mental attitude with the strength you already have inside. You can do it!
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