Injuries. Every basketball player deals with them but most are rarely prepared for how to handle the injury once it happens. Tyler Coston breaks down the approach professional athletes use when dealing with injuries and how you can apply it in your life.
No injury is truly crippling unless you let it cripple your mind.
Injuries, unfortunately, are a part of sports and a part of life. If you talk with any group of pro athletes or any adults who played a sport over a period of years, nearly every one would be able to recall an injury, if not many, that put them out of some big games or caused them to miss a whole season. So there’s no grand secret about injuries. If you play a sport, and if you play intensely over a period of time, it is very likely that you will get injured at some point. You can expect it.
When you get an injury, try to see the big picture. Forget the woe-is-me attitude, and don’t worry that your plans are suddenly ruined. Get complete information from medical experts so you know exactly what you are dealing with, and then do what they say. Often, it seems the only thing you can do is be patient and wait. I still recall the advice I got when I broke my leg in ninth grade:
In the cast, your bones are protected. The most dangerous time for you will be just after the cast comes off. Your broken bone will be healed but all the muscles around it will be weaker than ever. They will be in their most vulnerable state, just when you are chomping at the bit to get back into form. So don’t rush your return to competition and don’t get in games with the thought that you will take it easy. In games, your instincts will take over and you will do things suddenly, without thinking, that will put great strain on your muscles and ligaments and tendons. Then you could tear something that will take even longer to heal. Take the time you need, on your own and as soon as the cast comes off, to exercise and strengthen all those areas around the injury. Don’t get into any games until your body is prepared to go 100 percent.
I would like to add one final consideration. Most champions became champions by developing the habit of turning liabilities into assets. So can you. That means if you break your right arm, it’s time to start using and improving your left. If you have to remain immobile then you have more time to fully develop your mind.
You can always improve some part of you while some other part is healing. So think of an injury as time to work on another part of you that probably has been neglected. No injury is truly crippling unless you let it cripple your mind. Realize that an injury can be a huge setback or it can be an opportunity for some other kind of development. Make the best of your situation and don’t waste your time feeling sorry for yourself. Once you are injured you have taken a place beside thousands of other athletes who have shared your same experience. The question is will you let your injury get you discouraged, or will you make the most of the experience and turn it into an opportunity?
—Excerpted from the book, “Think Like a Champion”
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