MIND Your Health
It’s that time of the year again when athletes of all ages prepare to transition back to school and get ready for after-school practices and games. This can be exciting, but students should prepare for the demanding schedule and prioritize their mental and physical well-being throughout the entirety of the season.
“Mental health is just as important as your physical health,” says Dr. Robert Waskowitz, Orthopedic Surgeon and Orthopedic Sports Medicine specialist. “These two go hand in hand when dealing with an injury so it’s important to surround yourself with a solid support system. OAH is here to help student-athletes through difficult injuries and aid in mental health support. The road to recovery during an injury can be a long journey, so don’t take shortcuts.”
Getting Hurt is an Exhausting Experience
Your mental state has a massive effect on your motivation, physical health, and injury recovery. Poor mental health can negatively impact the recovery time of the injury or illness. When a student-athlete is injured, there are normal emotional reactions that help them process and cope with the injury. Possible responses include:
- Lack of motivation
However, for some, the psychological response to injury can trigger or unmask serious mental health issues including:
- Eating Disorders– When athletes can no longer work out, they may try to stay in shape by limiting how much they eat, which can lead to anorexia.
- Depression– When an athlete feels his or her injury has decreased their quality of life resulting in them feeling like they’ve hit “rock bottom”. It can be very difficult to reverse those feelings.
- Anxiety– Some athletes may fear they will reinjure themselves. While caution is good, athletes must be confident in their movements to avoid another injury.
Don’t Work Yourself Down to the Bone
- Stretch- It is extremely important to stretch before you jump into a practice or game because cold muscles are more prone to injury.
- Strengthen Muscles and Core- Lifting weights strengthens muscles and protects bones when under impact playing sports. Having a strong core ensures balance and stability, preventing a variety of sports-related injuries.
- Rest- Playing a sport for too long without rest can result in your muscles becoming overused, which weakens them and increases the risk of injury.
- Support Network- Having a strong support system is so important when recovering from an injury because it gives you people to lean on which helps overall mental health.
Working with Orthopedic Associates of Hartford is a Bone-us!
Unfortunately, injuries do occur, but Orthopedic Associates of Hartford can help diagnose the problem and guide your recovery. We consult with many local high schools, collegiate, and professional sports teams on prevention and treatment. When working with us, you can be sure to receive follow-up care for all your sports-related injuries.
No matter what sport you play, make sure to spend some time this preseason taking preventative measures to listen to and strengthen your body, so it will be prepared for the demands of practices and games. Mental health represents the core pillars of stability that set the foundation for a positive and productive athletic experience.