Monday, 23 February 2009

Injuries

Originally printed in The Aquinian on 01/19/2009

When a person dedicates a large portion of their life to a particular sport, being unable to participate is devastating.

All athletes, at some point in their career, will experience an injury. Be it minor or major, injuries leave an impact in various ways that may go unnoticed to the average person.

For athletes, or the committed exerciser, a large part of their self-identity, and self-worth, will be ingrained in their active life. Often times, an injury can undermine an individual’s athletic self-worth and lead to a decline in how that person values them self.

The four main areas of well-being that are affected are the person’s,

Physical well-being; the pain of the injury and difficulties of a rigorous rehabilitation process. Temporary physical restrictions and possibly permanent physical changes.

Secondly, the Emotional well-bring is damaged due to the trauma of the injury and feeling of loss or grief. The immediate fear is the threat of weakened performance in the future.

Thirdly, a person’s Social well-being may be altered because of a lost connection with their role in society. A feeling of separation from family, friends and teammates will occur giving an athlete a feeling of loneliness or regret.

Lastly, and the most important of them all, is the damage left on an individual’s self-concept. An altered self image and threat to important goals and aspirations with give an athlete a sense of lost control.

It is difficult to prevent injuries entirely but there are a few ways in which you can minimize the odds.

Stretching has become a crucial part of sport that some athletes have yet to take it serious. Dynamic warm ups including active movements using balance and agility have over taken the outdated “cold stretch.”

The idea is to warm up the muscles and generate blood flow before beginning an activity. Stretching while the body has yet to warm up is ineffective and can actually contribute to pulled or torn muscles.

Athletes are training longer and harder to see improvement but overtraining accounts for a lot of sports injuries. Without adequate rest and recovery, these training regiments can backfire and decrease performance. A proper cool down period will allow the body to return to a period of relaxation and increase your gains in the long run.

Lastly, the importance of taking a day off is imperative and will allow the body to recuperate and repair damaged muscles.

I think I can speak from experience in saying that, injuries are going to happen. The main thing is that your prepared mentally and physically in order to avoid them from happening. And when they do happen, just remember it is all a part of the ride and just another story to tell once it is all said and done.

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