One downfall of being an athlete is encountering a sports injury. Coping with the stress of an injury mainly focuses on physical rehab, but recovering emotionally and mentally is often just as strenuous.
Sometimes athletes try to deny that they are experiencing pain and as a result practice through it, potentially delaying recovery and increasing the possibility of making the injury worse.
For athletes, important things to remember when dealing with an injury are to maintain a positive attitude, set attainable goals and continue to maintain fitness while injured.
Braedan Pilcher, sophomore aviation management major and midfielder on California Baptist University’s men’s soccer team, has a herniated disk in his lower back.
Pilcher is doing core strengthening exercises, decompression. He cannot practice, so he watches practices or does rehab during practice time.
Pilcher said at first his injury did affect him negatively, but soon he was able to turn it into a positive, focusing on coming out of it stronger than before his injury.
“I know it’s all for a reason and a good purpose in the long run,” Pilcher said. “Coming out stronger mentally and physically from something like this is a huge character-building opportunity if you have the right attitude throughout.”
Kris Johnson, management graduate student and middle blocker on CBU’s men’s volleyball team, bulged four disks in his lower back while playing in a game during last year’s season. He sat out for 10 months and was not able to do any physical activity until October 2013.
“Initially, I thought that being injured was the worst thing to ever happen to me, and it was, physically,” Johnson said. “But mentally, it centered me to not think like an athlete and actually focus on what was really important.”