How to Deal with Injury Anxiety in Sport

The potential for Injury is arguably the biggest downside to playing sport. Whether slight or serious, an injury can not only affect an athlete physically but also have a negative effect on their mental state as well. Aside from teaching netball drills, hockey drills and the like, one of the responsibilities of a sports coach is to help athletes come through a spell on the injury sidelines.

A State of Mind

As proven by the many injuries sustained in the recent Rugby World Cup, as reported in the Daily Mail, sport can sometimes be a hazardous pursuit. However, it is often how those injuries are handled from a mental point of view, rather than merely a physical one, which determines how soon a player is ready to come back at full strength. Providing constant reassurance is often the remit of the coach.

Injury Anxiety in Sport

When it comes to team sports, one of the most common problems faced by an athlete with an injury is the feeling of isolation. Not being able to participate in games or even training sessions can be highly frustrating for a sports-person and can sometimes lead to anxiety or depression. It is the duty of the coach to ensure that the injured player receives support in both an emotional and physical sense.

Continued Involvement

If a player’s injury is such that any physical activity is simply out of the question, the coach should still find a way to involve that player in team training sessions. They could be asked to observe how certain players are performing or even tasked with implementing a new training drill, such as those that can be found on Less-serious injuries can still allow for the affected party to take part physically in training sessions, albeit on a reduced scale. This could involve the injured player participating in exercises which do not affect the injured area.

Even after a player has recovered from an injury, the notion that it could all happen again is never far from the player’s mind. It is at these times that a good coach will turn negative thoughts into positive ones, possibly by involving someone else who has experienced the same type of injury and recovered successfully. The more support a recovering athlete receives, the better the chances of making a speedy return to action.

Sanford K Kratzer