5 Strategies for Coping With a Sports Injury

After being fully invested in a sport you love, it sorts of becomes your life. Sports can be a major source of self-esteem, a source of income, a constructive way to cope with stress, and also offers a sense of identity, among other benefits. So, what happens when the unthinkable happens; you sustain an injury? First of all, know that you are not alone. Sports injuries are common and happen to even the best of athletes. If you’ve ever experienced a sports injury, you know that the physical pain is just but a small part of the overall hurt you feel. The mere thought of temporarily or permanently losing your sport can be far more traumatic than the broken bones and the strained ligaments. Here are a few coping mechanisms to help you through an injury:

Learn About Your Injury

Considering knowledge is power, having the right information about your injury will prepare you for the healing process, giving you less anxiety and a greater sense of control. Talk to your medical provider to know the cause of your injury, what to expect during treatment, how long recovery can take, symptoms of getting worse, and the alternative workouts you can safely do while you recover. Injuries should also be a learning experience, and knowing more about your injury allows you to take the necessary preventive measures to avoid injuries from reoccurring. It’s also important to note down the warning signs to help you recognize potential injuries in the future. Keep in mind that there are several websites on the internet, including, to provide you with information regarding sports.

Accept Responsibility

Accepting responsibility doesn’t necessarily mean that the injury was your fault, but rather, that your mindset has to change. For starters, you need to accept the injury. Many athletes often notice warning signs and ignore them. They go into denial and push themselves harder for fear of losing the sport. This can be detrimental to one’s overall health and even cause the injury to worsen, prolonging recovery time. It’s also important to know that you are fully responsible for your recovery. While it may be difficult to accept an injury, once you come into terms with it, you can take some time off to heal quickly and properly.

Have a Support System

The common response to injuries is isolation. This isn’t such a great reaction as it may increase the risk of suffering from certain psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and anger. You need different kinds of support to help you through the recovery period. For starters, you need informational support from people in the medical field. You also need someone to listen when you vent, which could be a teammate, friend, family member, or a therapist. After recovery, you’ll need a trusted teammate to help you train as you make your comeback. Some injuries can be very serious, preventing you from accomplishing your day-to-day chores. Ensure you find someone to help with that too. Ask for help when you need it, and accept it when it’s offered. Plus, just knowing you are not alone can be a tremendous comfort.

Use Your Mind to Heal Your Body

Studies show that there are certain mental skills and techniques, such as imagery, that can be used to help speed up the healing process. These techniques use all of one’s senses to create feelings, sensations, and mental images that visualize the desired outcome. There are three main imagery techniques you can try out. First is the emotional rehearsal, which involves visualizing experiences that make you feel good like past and future successes in your sport. Then, physical rehearsal, which involves visualizing yourself physically practicing the motions of your sport. And lastly, fast healing, which involves imagining your injured body part healing and getting stronger than ever. You can start by doing these techniques for short periods of time and gradually increase overtime.

Adjust Your Goals

Being injured doesn’t mean abandoning your goals, but rather, setting new and more realistic goals. It’s time to focus more on recovery and less on performance. During recovery, you’ll have to learn to measure your success in smaller strides. Noticing little improvements will help keep you motivated and more confident in your recovery process. Keep in mind that even after recovery, you may have to start all over again to build up strength and endurance. This means taking baby steps and focusing on your new goals until you are physically and mentally ready to go back to your old goals.

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