The Injured Athlete.

Athlete: — —

Sport: Football

State: Ohio

“As athletes we were always told there will be adversity that will challenge us and it’s how we respond that determines wins and losses. Being injured was one of the most difficult challenges in my athletic career. I tore my Achilles’ tendon in the Spring 2006 followed by two torn meniscus in early 2007 all of which required surgery that would keep me sidelined for over a year. These were the first major injuries of my life and I was just a Sophomore. At the time, I honestly thought my career was over and went through a gauntlet emotions from sadness, anger, depression, fear, loneliness, etc. the list goes on. I never understood a lot of my self-worth was tied so much into my athletic identity and for the time being-it was taken away. I didn’t know if I would ever be the same player again and I was flat-out scared. I was forced to think about who I was outside of athletics.

It was like I was injured twice. Not only was there the physical injury which there is a plan for through surgery and rehab but also the emotional injury that doesn’t necessarily get addressed. The hardest part of process for me being injured was the depression that followed. Of course I was surrounded by teammates, family, and coaches that were supportive and provided words of encouragement but it was hard to see things move on without me. While the team was practicing, traveling for games, lifting weights, and conditioning I was stuck standing by working to participate.

After over a year of rehab and multiple setbacks I was left behind. The coaches didn’t check on me to see how I was doing anymore. It was like I wasn’t valuable because I couldn’t help them win games at the time. It was at this time I began to question everything. It was hard not to feel used as if I was only as valuable as my production or lack of production on the field. I had to completely changed my focus. While my sport was still important I had to think about life after it was over. I was determined to silence all critics that thought I would never play again and at the same time focus on finding who I was outside of sports.

In the end the injuries turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened to me. It showed me a different side of Division I sports and forced me to adjust my focus. I’m not sure I would’ve learned the lessons I did without my injuries.”

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Originally published at theathleticperspective.wordpress.com on January 9, 2015.

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