The reality of training for and competing in sports is that the risk for injury is high, and most athletes will encounter an injury at some point in their career.

Recovering after a sports-related injury is an often intense and challenging process. It can take months of physical therapy to return the body to normal activity, but what athletes often don’t think about is the mental toll a sports injury can take.

It is natural to feel frustrated and overwhelmed by an injury and what it takes to overcome it. By reaching a point of acceptance of the injury, an athlete can better focus on recovery and taking action to become healthier. Athletes who are motivated to take on the challenge of rehabilitation often reach better outcomes in the end.

Though some athletes will feel tempted to set a specific date or game by which to be completely recovered, this may cause a barrier in the healing process. Goals can be great motivators, but an athlete needs to understand that recovery takes time. It is important for the athlete to put complete mental investment into the rehab process, understanding that this will produce greater results with a lessened risk for re-injury.

Coaches and teammates can help by encouraging the injured athlete throughout their recovery. Pressure to practice or play before he or she is ready can do more harm than good. The Sports Medicine team at Bone & Joint Center offers expert care in sports injuries and recovery, ensuring the athlete is 100% ready—physically and mentally—for their return to play.

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