Being injured is more than just the injury itself. Being injured is a journey, there’s a reason they call it a road to recovery. There’s the pain, the waiting, the appointments, the rehab. But what no one ever talks about is the toll an injury can have on emotions. The psychological burden that comes with being sidelined can start to feel like it’s weighing you down. It can leave you feeling confused, isolated and lonely, wondering when, if ever you’ll be able to play again.
Diagnosis is Just the Beginning
The diagnosis of an injury is very important, because it helps you and your practitioner understand the length of time required for recovery. But this in itself can be a pretty tough pill to swallow. With the diagnosis, comes the time out of action, that in itself can be daunting. This can mean anything from a couple of weeks without running, or it could mean surgical repair. The best thing to do is talk to your practitioner so that you understand what is to expect. What we do as Osteopaths is explain the situation and provide landmarks along the timeline to focus on, taking away any uncertainty.
Exercise Rehab is the Key
Too often we see athletes come to see us who have had an injury ongoing for some weeks and have been prescribed no exercise rehab. If you’re missing out on sport because your injury is taking forever to heal, it can leave you feeling miserable. The reality is though, the body doesn’t just heal itself following injury. The body needs to be strengthened, especially when returning to sport. At Alpha Sports Medicine and Osteopathy our team structure our rehab programs around strength of the injured joint or tissue. We also focus on improving movement patterns, increasing efficiency and decreasing the risk of injury again.
Exercise Rehab can be a Lonely Road
No matter what amount of weeks on the sidelines, being in the rehab corner can be very isolating. When it feels like you’re all alone on the journey, it can sometimes be disheartening, and you may find yourself flooded with negative thoughts. But remember, you’re not alone. If you find you’re really struggling, it’s not weak to speak! Talk to your support network. A good idea is to seek the help of a Psychologist who can help you understand how to cope with the challenges ahead.
Be Part of the Team
Even though you may be off the training track, it doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the team. Elite sporting clubs will often include their injured athletes in most gym and conditioning sessions as they do modified programs according to their rehab. Our Osteopaths encourage any athletes with injuries to do as much rehab as possible when around their team mates, this can boost morale and motivation. It’s also a great way to show your team mates in person just how dedicated you are to your recovery!
Help Where You Can!
Most sporting clubs will have a number of game day volunteer roles that will need filling, so help out where you can! Get involved on game day with assisting the coach, serving in the canteen or even to just cheer on your team. Being a part of a club goes beyond playing on the field, use your rehab journey as an opportunity set a good example for the younger members of the club.
Whatever your injury journey looks like, if your time line is clear and you have a good support network, you will make a good recovery. The emotional burden of an injury can be a tough one to experience, remember you are not alone, and it’s ok to talk about it.
Live well. Play hard.