How to Bounce Back From Injury Like a Pro

dr. brad injury
How to Bounce Back From Injury Like a Pro

Ice on your ankle, throbbing knee – you know the feeling. Injuries are a brutal part of the game, a sucker punch that steals your breath and leaves you questioning everything. You might feel lost, angry, maybe even scared.

Here's the truth: that's totally normal.

We spend hours agonizing over physical therapy, but the mental side of recovery often gets left on the bench. It's time to change that.

Here are five tips to help you win the mental battle when your body takes a hit:

  1. Feel the Feels: It's okay to be mad, sad, frustrated – all of it. Ignoring your emotions just makes them stronger. Acknowledge them, then let them go.
  2. You're Still in the Game: This injury doesn't define you. Focus on what you can control. Can you mentor teammates? Analyze game film? You're still a valuable part of the team. 
  3. Lean on Your Crew: You don't have to go it alone. Talk to a good friend, coach, therapist – whoever gets you. Surround yourself with positive energy and a good dose of "you got this."

  4. Focus on the Present Moment: We know what it's like to want to get back on the pitch as quickly as possible, but recovery takes time. Set recovery goals, and focus on the process of recovery. Remind yourself often, "One step, one rep, even one breath at a time!"

  5. Fill Up Your Optimism Tank: Develop a short list of affirmations to help build optimism. Post them on your mirror, in the car, in the locker room, or anywhere you visit often. These powerful affirmations can help rid your mind of negative thoughts that might creep in.

This won't be easy. Injuries test your grit, your spirit. So, use these tips to fight your way back to become a more resilient athlete and human. This setback is your chance to come back stronger than ever!

Challenge: Write down your top 3 mental struggles right now. How can you use the tips above to address them?

Remember, champions are built in the face of adversity. Let's go! 

Dr. Brad Miller, PsyD.D
Soccer Resilience Founder and Clinical Psychologist

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