Thursday, August 16, 2012

Overcoming the Fear of Re-injury

44764 bytes; 530 x 353; Athletes often push their bodies to the limits to keep them fit and make them faster.  While this attitude keeps athletes at the top of their game, it also comes with a risk.  Injuries are commonplace in the sport community, freak accidents happen to the best of us even with extra precaution and care.

After a major injury, an athlete may become 'injury-prone'. This can happen when fears, conscious or sub-consciously, produce tension in the body.  Tension then interferes with circulation and flexibility and athletes end up hurting themselves more often.

A number of emotions are experienced when an athlete is afraid of getting injured:
  • anxiety
  • tension
  • depression
  • anger
  • frustration
  • fatigue
While the body may heal easily enough, psychologically, the athlete may need a little help with the fear of hurting themselves again.  Good therapists can really help athletes by offering reassurance and teaching them to use positive imagery and self-talk to cope with anxiety. If a therapist is not an option, social support is one of the best coping mechanisms for an injured athlete because they can provide emotional support and encouragement for someone feeling discouraged or fearful.

In order for an athlete to gain the confidence that the injured area is completely healed, they should be brought back into sport gradually and systematically starting with drills and strength training while slowly increasing the intensity.

Sport is a physical and mental game and dealing with injuries can be one of the toughest challenges an athlete can face. Understanding that these emotions are a normal response to a serious injury can help athletes, coaches, and their families help an athlete through a difficult recovery and eventual return to play.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Cooper B. ATTACK OF THE NAGGING FEARS!. Runner's World. September 2011;46(9):60-67.
2. Crawford C. FEAR OF INJURY. Skitrax. Spring2012 2012;22(4):14.
3. Kvist J, Ek A, Sporrstedt K, Good L. Fear of re-injury: a hindrance for returning to sports after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. July 2005;13(5):393-397.
4. McCloy J. Over coming fear of re-injury. Coaching Youth Sports. March 2004.
5. McCollom B. Conquering the FEAR factor. Ski Racing. November 29, 2005;38(5):18-22.
6. Podlog L, Dimmock J, Miller J. A review of return to sport concerns following injury rehabilitation: Practitioner strategies for enhancing recovery outcomes. Physical Therapy In Sport. February 2011;12(1):36-42.

2 comments:

Eliot Olivar said...

Injuries are very popular in the sport local community, freak damages happen to the most effective of us even with additional precaution and attention.

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shane watson said...

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