Thursday, April 23, 2020 • Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Barry Bonds came from a family of baseball players. Tom Brady, on the other hand, has been into football since after high school. LeBron James has been a star in basketball since elementary school.

For these athletes who are into the professional league, sports is intertwined with their private lives. They’ve dedicated their lives honing their craft, tirelessly practicing for hours, days, weeks, and years on and off the field. And if one decides to go pro, it’s highly likely that their future livelihood will be tied to how well they perform.

 

With all this in mind, one point is clear — any event or injury that might keep them away from their sport will have an immense adverse impact on their lives. For this reason, sports injury rehabilitation should go beyond physical injury. It should also address the mental health of the patient.

Why does depression set in after a sports injury?

According to Dr. John Murray, a Florida-based clinical sports psychologist, a sports injury can adversely affect how an athlete views themself. Based on his research, he found out that these professional athletes are more susceptible to a severe mental health condition. He even added that the blow can be harder on elite athletes because their identity is intertwined in their role as an athlete.

 

This means that when an elite athlete gets injured, the effect is more devastating since they’re losing something so integral to who they are.

 

This doesn’t mean that the people at the gym are not likely to experience depression if they suddenly won’t be able to participate in the activities they enjoy. For these people, their respective physical activities may be their way to sweat their demons out. Without any outlet, they can feel the negative effects of the injury even more.

Exercise as the jolt to keep one moving

For every physically active person, their respective physical activities provide the electric jolt that can help them jumpstart their day and get them moving. When this routine, unfortunately, gets disrupted by an injury, you can expect that everything else gets affected.

 

There is a chemical aspect that explains the link between mental wellness and exercise. Endorphins, the chemicals that are responsible for making people feel happy, are released through physical activity. The sudden dip in the release of endorphins can make it challenging to manage one’s emotions after an injury.

For athletes, injuries can happen at some point in their careers. Sports injuries are not only limited to direct contact sports. In fact, the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament can be torn even without external contact. In contact activities and sports, a sprained ankle or a broken hand is usually part of the game. So, if the inevitable happens, it’s important that people try to avoid getting depressed, especially during their downtime.

How can you stay proactive in preventing depression after a sports injury?

According to the Sports Science Institute, there is a link that explains why a physically active person gets depressed after an injury. According to them, here are the common emotional responses after one gets sidelined for days, weeks, or months because of an injury:

 

  • Anger
  • Changes in sleep and appetite
  • Frustration
  • Isolation
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sadness

 

If one wants to focus on mental wellness during their time off the court, he needs to focus on his responses to these emotions. He also needs to understand that it’s common for

people suffering from injuries to feel these emotions and that there are ways to manage them.

 

By sticking to a healthy diet and regular sleeping schedule, a person can improve their mood and increase their energy even during this downtime. A sports injury rehab coach can also play a huge role in mental health management. Aside from helping the athlete fix their physical condition, the coach can also help motivate the injured person by setting goals and celebrating small victories. The coach can also help him understand that recovery isn’t a personal competition. Keeping an open communication line with family and friends can help, too. Through this, feelings of isolation will be mitigated.

 

Suffering from an injury may really take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. However, with the right guidance and rehabilitation program, along with the support of family and friends, an injured person can overcome their condition unscathed.