Sports injuries and their effects on the player’s mental and physical health

Jimmy Graham

By Maggie Sperry

Injuries can be unavoidable and often occur while playing a sport. They can have varying effects on a player, depending on the type and how it is treated. Injuries can have major effects on the athlete physically, mentally, and later in life.

Physically, depending on the injury, the player may not be able to participate in the sport for a period of time. The time absent from the activity varies from the type of injury and how it must be treated. Some injuries can be handled by having a little time off and resting. Other injuries can include physical therapy, which will take longer. However if the player requires surgery to repair their injury, it could be a matter of months before a player can get back to their sport and even longer to get back to where they were before the injury. For example, a concussion has the ability to take a player out of the game for an extensive period of time, or it may end a player’s career, as it did for U.S. women’s soccer goalie, Briana Curry. Since, she has since opened up about how her injury has affected her.

Briana Curry USA goal keeper, before her head injury.
U.S. goal keeper, Briana Curry, before her head injury.

“The thing that was bothering me is, all my career, my success has been based on my mentality. About how I look at something and how I go after it. Ability to overcome obstacles and then my physical assets as well. But it all starts with my mind, and so for me, my brain was broken, that’s how I felt. I thought if I couldn’t use that, what do I do?” Curry sated during the interview.

No matter what, injuries can be hard for a player to overcome. Not only can the injury hold one back but the state of mind after the injury, too. For some athletes injuries can trigger serious mental health issues, including, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse. But it all depends on a person’s response to the injury. They could feel sad, irritated, angry, frustrated, disengaged, and unmotivated. To cope with these feelings or mental health issues, it is suggested to seek medical treatment.

“Towards the end of 2011 into 2012 I really struggled with the emotional side of things because I just stopped and took a breath and looked and noticed that it had been over a year and I’m still in the same situation mentally [and] emotionally…I felt stuck,” explained Curry on in during an interview with Brainline.

Since then, she has had occipital nerve release surgery to overcome her debilitating post-concussive headaches. She explains how she feels better and is on the track to becoming more of herself again. She has stated that she wants to help others with their concussion injuries by telling her story and explaining the struggles she has faced because of her injury. “I feel the message is keep trying don’t give up,” said Curry.

Injuries can seriously impact a player’s life, but by overcoming the physical and mental obstacles the player may be able to return to the sport. But if not, there are plenty of options and treatments to help.

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