December 2015 archive

Athletes and Self Care

athlete self careSelf care is an essential component to survival as an athlete. Some athletes take self care very seriously while others do not prioritize it enough. Athletes should actively self care to counteract the physical and emotional stress they fall under. They can do this by caring for their bodies and caring for their mental faculties.

The physical stress that athletes go through is obvious on some level to everyone. Athlete’s bodies are the instruments of their professions and they are heavily taxed by doing their jobs. Athletes face the possibilities of injuries and physical exhaustion daily and must counteract its effects by reversing the damage done to their bodies. Some methods an athlete may have of undoing physical stress are¬†gentle yoga, physical therapy, hot tubs, whirlpools and massages.

Counteracting the emotional stress of being an athlete looks very different from counteracting the physical stress. Many people do not realize that athletes go through as much psychologically as they do physically. The pressure that falls on athletes to be the best, outperform the competition and set new records can be overwhelming. No two people heal from emotional stress in the same way, and every athelete must learn how to unburden themselves so that they can remain healthy and happy. Some ideas to help athletes unwind are taking up an enjoyable, relaxing hobby, developing and leaning into supportive relationships, receiving counseling, practicing meditation and being in touch with one’s spirituality.

Being a professional athlete is not easy by any measure. The high profile, high expectation career of a professional athlete can physically and mentally strain athletes to the point of breaking. Finding different forms of therapeutic release is essential to their well being. No matter how busy or active an athlete is, they should always prioritize personal self care and have a plan in place for how to maintain their self care when they are training or traveling. Their lives and careers will be healthier and smoother because of it.

When Athletes Sustain Injuries

athlete injurySustaining an injury as an athlete is a very serious matter that can have a tremendous negative impact on both life and career. Every athlete knows that a serious injury can mean the end of life as they know it – knowledge that would be too heavy for most people to bare, but knowledge that is part and parcel to an athlete. When an athlete is injured, there journey may go one of three ways.

Sometimes when a sports injury occurs, the medical professionals on the scene and those who care for the individual in the days that follow the injury may know immediately what the forecast for the individual’s athletic life will be from then on. This is typically not in the athlete’s favor because it is often a negative prognosis. If a medical professional can tell immediately what the future looks like for an athlete after having examined their injury, it likely means the end of the athlete’s career.

Typically what happens when an athlete is injured is they enter treatment and physical rehabilitation to determine over time whether or not the athlete can re-enter their sport competitively. It is usually impossible to tell how well the injury will heal until the individual makes efforts to heal over the course of several weeks or months. These efforts may include stretching, exercises, medications and endurance tests.

After treatment and rehabilitation begin, the long road to recovery will ultimately determine how an athlete can engage in their sport. It could be that their injury did not end their career, but it did shorten it. Many athletes return to their sport after an injury to find that they are still competitive but cannot perform at quite the same level that they used to. Their injury slowed them down but did not stop them. There are a few lucky athletes who make a full recovery from their injury and return to their sport on top of their game. Sadly, this is more the exception than the rule.