Getting Injured: A Permanent Setback Or An Opportunity?

Ok, you got injured. It’s not the end of the world. It happens even to the best of us.

Setbacks are a natural part of life and they are unavoidable. What can be avoided however, is the negative attitude that you adopt in a futile attempt to cope with your injury. There is no doubt that an injury can be like a mental bomb going off in your head. The question is: what have you done to deal with your injury so far?

So, it’s been a while since you got injured and you’ve…

  • …taken more than enough time for recovery and regeneration.
  • …completed your physical therapy sessions.
  • …made sure you’re getting adequate nutrition and enough sleep.
  • …returned back to the weight room.

…but your injury is not getting any better or even worse you’re regressing or repeating the same injury. Why? Because you have not yet considered or accepted the mental side of getting injured.

The Power Of The Mind

The human brain is a powerful machine. Believe something strong enough and it might just become true. We’ve known the consequences of the so called “placebo effect” for so long, yet nobody seems to recognize its importance when it comes to getting injured in your sport.

Think about the following: how many people around you, suffer from muscle pains, tight muscles, painful trigger points and chronic injuries that only pain pills seem to temporarily relieve? Now consider the following. Muscle tightness. It is what it is. Take someone who cannot properly bend over and touch their toes and ask them why they can’t do it. They’ll tell you “I’m not flexible enough” or “my lower back hurts”. Whatever the case may be, put the same person under full body anesthesia and their lower back and hamstrings will magically allow a full bent with their chest touching their legs.

What did we learn here? We’ve learned that the issue is not muscular. It’s not even a joint issue. Both the joints and the muscles are able to lengthen and stretch to the point that our natural anatomy allows. It’s the nervous system’s tight grip on the muscles, that’s surprisingly making the muscles tight. There have even been cases where people got so paranoid about becoming sick and feverish that they actually got sick and presented a serious fever, without any apparent underlying condition.

So, how far of a leap is it really, to believe that your current mental state is holding you back from completely recovering from your injury?

Attitude Is Everything

You have to be more than just willing to get better. You have to want to get better. You have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to get better. You have to believe you are better. You have to believe there’s nothing wrong with you. And you’re healed.

So, does an injury constitute a serious setback or is it a timely opportunity? You have to stop looking at your injury like it sucks. See it as an opportunity to overcome a challenge, seek out new ways of training, improvise, adapt and overcome. You might surprise yourself and others at what you can do.

I never treat injuries or problems in general as permanent setbacks. I treat them as opportunities to rise through the challenge and become a better version of myself.- Rob Gronkowski

What about going back in the weight room or back in the field? You might be naturally preoccupied with worries about hurting yourself again. Don’t be alarmed by this. Fear of re-injury is absolutely normal. It’s also pretty common for the recently recovered athlete to find themselves mentally replaying the injury over and over in their mind’s eye.

This only way to combat this is to concentrate on what you WANT to have happen, NOT what you’re afraid will. Focus on what you need to do in order to execute it perfectly.

Get Your Mind Right

As unfortunate a sport injury is, there is a silver lining behind successfully addressing the recovery of a sport injury. You will have gained the key to being more confident after having adhered to a set of goals, remain positive, be patient, seek help and build mental toughness that will be useful to deal with future sport and life challenges.

There’s no denying that a huge part of your injury is physical. You know that. What you need to consider however, is the extend of the mental aspect of your injury. You already possess the key to recovering and getting back in the groove. Now, you need to get rid of the interference that’s holding you back. Remember…

Results = Potential - Interference

So, take a moment to think about the possibility that what’s holding you back from fully recovering might just be the barriers you’ve set for yourself. Find an empty room, sit down, eliminate any negative thoughts and concentrate on what you can do instead of what you cannot do. Get your mind right.

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