Although elite skiers in the 1997 Urdry et al. study thought of season-ending injuries as stumbling blocks that involved depression and misery, approximately 95 percent of the participants also talked of positive results, including “personal growth, psychologically based performance enhancements, and physical-technical development.”
Of course, this study (one of the few studies that examine the consequences of injuries on athletes, according to the book Psychological Bases of Sports Injuries) was conducted on average 2.7 years after the athletes suffered their injuries. It may take not only time to realize the benefits of injury, but the proper intervention as well. Runner and T.V. sportscaster Leslie Visser shattered leg bones, dislocated her hip, tore hamstring and groin muscles, and suffered facial lacerations during a run. Still, she believes she was lucky to receive “the best emergency care in the world.”
The highly competent care she received helped her see an extremely negative situation in a positive light. One of the ways you can turn your painful sports injury into the best possible experience is by seeking good physical and psychological care for yourself. Healing both physically and emotionally from your trauma is vital. While a sports doctor or a physical therapist can help you with your physical healing, a sport psychologist can assist you with your emotional response to your trauma. When a sport is one of your big life loves, it’s no small thing to suffer a big injury that takes you off of the field or out of a season. Finding the right professionals to help you heal and get back in the game in better form — both physically and mentally — means your injury can be life-changing in a good way.