Photography by: Brendan Ross — image

How to Treat an Injured Player on Your Team

You might not know it, but as a coach, you could be the most influential person in an athlete’s rehab process. I see a lot of people focusing on the physical rehab athletes should go through. However, the biggest struggle with long term injuries is mental.

I tore my ACL when I was a Junior in High School. After factoring MRI waitlists and a misdiagnosis, I was out for about a year. During that time, my coach did something I will always thank him for: he made practices mandatory. I had to attend every single training session, every single team meeting, and every single travel game.

Tearing your ACL should be viewed as a loss. They lost the thing they cherish the most with the people who mean the world to them. Their basic human need to belong to something was taken from them and they automatically feel like outsiders in their own home. Just as any loss, letting them grieve in rehab for 6–9 months won’t make them stronger and will make coming back to the team a whole lot more difficult.

Keep your injured players an active part of the team. Require them to be there every time the team meets. Involve them in the coaching aspect of the court, have them take care of statistics, have them bring out water. Do whatever you can to keep your injured players involved. They’ll thank you for it.

Originally published at on January 15, 2015.

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