Dear Injured Athlete,

I know exactly how you feel, trust me.

Within the past 5 years, I have had shoulder surgery that put me out for 6 months. During my freshman year of college, I had ankle surgery that put me out for an entire year and caused me to red shirt. Next week, I will have a second surgery on my ankle that will put me out for almost a month.

Injuries are no bueno. As athletes, we put our bodies through absolute torture. We push ourselves farther than we should. We spend hours in the gym or on the field just to wake up the next day finding it hard to even walk. We do it because the hard work pays off; it shows on the field. Those who don't put in the extra time, tend to not play as well as those who do. We go through blood, sweat, and tears because it's worth it when you catch that ball that no one thought you could get to.

With an injury, you get to a point where you just want to quit. You feel as if there is no point in doing the painful rehab and trying to get back to where you used to be. You're not just hurting physically; you're hurting emotionally, too.

For me, softball was my stress outlet. Before I hurt my ankle, when I was mad, upset, or stressed out, I would go run or hit in the cages. But for almost a year, I couldn't. I had no outlet for my emotions. On top of that, I had teammates that were complaining left and right about practicing. Don't get me wrong, there were definitely some days that I didn't feel like practicing. However, when you've been watching from the sidelines for months in a cast, you would give anything to be back on that field giving everything you have and not taking a second for granted. You long for the ability to do anything that makes you feel useful.

After a certain point, you get tired of feeling sorry for yourself. The negative mentality has to go. Your teammates may not know how you're feeling or what you're going through, but you have to learn to lean on them. If they're anything like my team, they are going to be there for you no matter what. They are always going to be checking on you and trying to help you through your injury. Surround yourself with people who are always positive about the situation because soon you will become positive about it, too. I would have been lost without my teammates because my family was 200 miles away. My team had my back every step of they way and they still do now.

Every athlete will go through a time where they have to sit out due to an injury, whether it be a month or a year. However, I promise that you can and will get through it and come back stronger with determination and patience.

You can't really control what happened, but you've got to make the most out of it. God has a plan and there was a reason he sat you out for some time. Every time I'm in pain and want to just quit and be done with it, I look at the tattoo on my wrist.

It means "God is greater than my highs and lows." This reminder gives me the strength to push through all of my pain and keep doing what I love. I know that God would not put me through situations that I could not overcome. He has a reason behind everything He does.

Sports are an all around challenge. They're not going to be easy. There are going to be highs and lows. Same goes for an injury. You have to push through the lows in order to get to the highs. If you stay motivated and mentally tough, you are more likely to beat that injury. It will only make you a better person and athlete.

Be thankful you get another chance to play the game that you love because there are some people that have career ending injuries. Work hard every time you step onto the field, court, track, etc. Play every day like it is your last because you never know if it could be.

Never give up.

Sincerely,

An athletes that's been there.