How do sports injuries really affect the athlete’s mind?

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Francesca Ricciardi

It’s the bittersweet risk we run as sports lovers – the harder we push, the harder we can fall. And no one, elite or amateur, is immune.

Injuries aren’t just about the physical. There can be real emotional and psychological trauma that sits alongside the symptoms that everyone else can see.

We need to address this unspoken affliction. Athletes need support to mend their minds as well as their bodies.

It seems like every year during my sports season I get hurt. Sometimes I sit out and other times I just play through the pain. Whenever I sit out I feel like I’m missing out on the game. That’s normally why I just play with pain. 

It’s not as easy to sit out as everyone thinks. Some people use their sport as part of their identities, so sitting out of something you love can be difficult. 

Ally Stein was able to relate to this considering she sat out an entire season to have surgery on both of her legs. 

“It was nice to be able to cheer on my team and support them and to be able to look at the game from a different viewpoint, but sitting out, for a lack of better words, sucked. I just felt like I could’ve done something to help the team and I was worried that when I got back that I wasn’t going to be the same player,” said Ally. 

Not only did the injury not allow her to play, it affected her everyday life.

“You have to get used to doing the normal things you’re used to doing in a completely different way, depending on how severe your injury is, but for me it was very hard to deal with not being able to walk for two weeks,” said Ally. 

This affected her mentally, as well. 

“It’s frustrating mentally and you have to think and hope that you’re going to get through it and that everything is going to get better or you’ll just be stuck in your own head,” continued Ally. 

When she was cleared to play again she worked even harder to become a great player. The injury also made her realize how much she really loved soccer. 

Now she’s a senior still playing soccer and one of the best players on the field. Her injury inspired more drive in her and developed a much greater worth ethic.

At times it was hard to deal with sitting out, but in the end it just made her a better person and player. 

To conclude, any kind of sports injury can affect you mentally in some way. It can change your perspective on your sport and even in your everyday life. It can even inspire you to work harder than you did before the injury.