The Emotional Toll of Physical Injuries

The Emotional Toll of Physical Injuries / PowerPlay Blog

By PowerPlay Athlete Jessica Meyers

I was asked to write about the emotional side of being injured.  While I’ve had injuries that “hurt” and are generally uncomfortable, the emotional side is far worse than the actual physical pain.  And I don’t believe that is just because it’s my livelihood.  Anytime you can’t do what you love, it’s going to put a damper on your spirits.  And the more I put some thought into it, I believe when injured it’s very similar to the 5 stages of grief.

DENIAL:  I’m not really injured.  It’s not that bad.  I’ll just take a couple days off and I’ll just jump right back in.  No fitness loss, everything is good.

BARGAINING:  Well, it hurts a little, so I’ll just shorten my run a little bit and it won’t damage it as much.  And I’ll just warm up nice and slow, and the pain will go away.  And as long as I can do just a little, I won’t lose too much fitness.

ANGER:  Why is this still hurting???  I took a week off, it should be better!!!  Why did I do that stupid workout??  Why didn’t I get new shoes when I needed them???  This is all my shoe’s fault!!!

DEPRESSION:  Well I can’t run so my season is pretty much over.  I’m just going to grab some ice cream and sit on the sofa and watch the marathon of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  Oh, and I won’t shower for a few days.

ACCEPTANCE:  I’m injured, it’s time to heal.  I can’t run, but I can still swim and bike.  I’ll carry on with my days as usual, I just won’t run.

Injuries are a nag on our emotions.  I for one am great at giving advice.  When you feel an injury coming on, STOP!!  Skip the denial and bargaining and save yourself the headache of anger and depression.  But sometimes we have to learn the hard way.  Unfortunately after many years in this sport, I still have to learn the hard way when I could save myself a lot of time and grief.  But the truth is there is no way around it, being injured does take a great emotional toll.  Try to occupy your time with things you can control or that give you happiness.  Pamper yourself.  Do the things you don’t normally have time for.  Distract yourself.  And most of all be patient.  Yes, much easier said than done.  But like anything remember that it is temporary, and a good attitude will just make it better in the long run.