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Mental Health: Sports Injuries

Injuries are a part of sports. It’s just the nature of it. But how you respond to the adversity of being injured is a way to measure your character. It tests you. It looks you in the face and says, “here I am, now what are you going to do to bounce back?” One of the questions that you may ask yourself is, “Am I going to be the same player again?” Sometimes it can make you ask, “am I going to be the same person again?” When you return from injury, there can be a lot of doubt involved. You may be unsure if you can make the same athletic movements without being injured again. It’s a mental battle. You know you’re healthy physically but mentally you’re not quite sure. I’ve had that same doubt as well. It takes time to build confidence in your abilities after being injured. It could take a week, month, or even a full season before the confidence re-emerges.

I’ve had my fair share of sports injuries, which is understandable considering that it’s embedded with the physical activities that take place in athletics. It can even come with playing sports unofficially. I’ve had finger fractures, pulled muscles, etc. Nothing too serious. More recently a torn meniscus meniscus in my right knee.

The funny thing is, I didn’t know it was torn…at all. I’ve had left knee issues and such but none really with my right knee other than it having some sort of fluid on top of it. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what. I decided to get an MRI and got my answer. I in fact had a torn meniscus.

I got my doctors appointment scheduled and made plans for the surgery. I was good to go. I was really nervous about my surgery but after a while my nervousness subsided. I was actually excited in a way. Afterwards it was easy going up until I got home. You see, getting the surgery can be seen as the easy part. The hard part is after the surgery. It involves pain and a good amount of it. I got my rehab plans and was ready to attack it. I really like physical therapy because I see it as a way to get better at something and challenge yourself.

My knee injury has affected me mentally as injuries can all athletes. Its been very sad and depressing at times. Not many people outside of family called or reached out to me after my surgery which hurt a lot. It felt like no one cared and that I was alone. Of course people care but that was the mind frame I was. Me, myself and I. It’s not that easy. It’s hard watching everybody else have fun when you’re on the sidelines, figuratively and sometimes literally. It’s been hard watching people being able to go outside and run around and I can barely make it to the kitchen. Struggling with crutches and can’t walk for a while. It’s tough, physically and mentally. Emphasis on mentally. A good word to describe it would be frustrating. I’d sit there and yell because of the pain I would be in and be upset that I’m going through such things. Sometimes it would make me want to cry due to the overall frustration.

Physical therapy is exactly what I expected it to be. Challenging. Not only physically but mentally as well. It’s time to work, fresh out of surgery. I enjoy talking with doctors and physical therapists because it’s very interesting to me to discuss sports medicine. I study sports medicine so I feel like me, the doctors, and physical therapists can have a better understanding of my treatment with their expertise and my willingness to learn. My first set of rehab was difficult and I just felt like quitting because it was so tough but I had to be mentally tough, push through, and continue to do so. I knew it was going to be rigorous but I’m geared up for it.

One thing that’s been motivating me throughout the rehab process is seeing some athletes I look up to that have been injured go through the rehab process as well.

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Athletes like Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr, Kevin Durant and others. I look at them and think, “if they can get through it then I can to0.”

My injury list is prevalent. I have a torn meniscus in my right knee that I had surgery on. I also have a calf strain, injured finger/hand, left knee issues that stemmed from overcompensating for my right knee and possible shaking leg syndrome or tremors. It’s actually hard to stand in certain positions sometimes because of tremors but as of now I have not been diagnosed with it. Tremors can be strenuous due to the athletic positions you have to maintain when participating in sports.

Being able to play sports, albeit officially or unofficially has been on my mind quite a bit. But I just want to be able to feel normal and like myself again. Physically and mentally. I want to be able to train, workout and play sports like I know I can. I just want to be able to walk normally really. I know it’s people out there who deal with disabilities but handle it with a lot of grace and effort so I try not to complain very much but I’m human. People take such things as being physically healthy all around for granted.

My recovery timetable for my knee is about 2 and half to 3 months with rehab. On top of attending to all my other injuries. It seems like a lot to handle but it is manageable.

You can follow me on my road to recovery journey as I document it on my YouTube channel.

In conclusion, the recovery process is mentally and physically demanding but I can get through it. I will get through it and return to normalcy better than I was before. So can you.

-BJT

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTerrybyron1

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