A Letter To The Injured Athlete
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A Letter To The Injured Athlete

For those of you who have never been anything but an athlete.

A Letter To The Injured Athlete

Hey you,

So, tell me, what was it? ACL? MCL? Rotator cuff? Broken bone? Concussion? Dislocation?

I don't wanna say we've all been there, but too many of us have. It seems like we can barely make it through a game without a player going down with an injury, no matter the sport. And more often than not, it's a career-changing, or even career-ending injury.

So this letter is for you, the injured athlete, who's heart is breaking or has been broken by the loss of the love of your life - your sport. I won't lie to you, this journey will be one of the hardest things you've ever done, especially if your identity has never been separate from the word athlete. We're athletes. We have been since the day we started t-ball or soccer or gymnastics, or whatever other sports all little kids play, and we didn't stop. Until now.

You may think that there's no pain worse than the one you felt when you were injured originally, and I hate to tell you that for me, that was one of the easiest pains of recovery. I say one of, because there are many pains that come with career-altering injuries.

The first one that you'll face is physical therapy. To put it lightly, physical therapy is hell. Rebuilding a muscle that is no longer there or working a part of the body that has been surgically fixed or replaced is a superhuman feat. It's not a rare sight to walk into the fitness area and see multiple people crying out of pain, frustration, or both. But this is where we have to work the hardest to heal physically, in hopes of playing at the same level we were before our injury, or just playing at all. So, we work through the pain to make sure we stay an athlete. We don't know how to be anything else.

Physical therapy is just the bodily suffering, the next part of the process is all mental. Sure, you're working towards recovery, but you still can't practice, and, according to your doctor, you definitely can't play. Whether you're out for 6 weeks, 6 months, or a year, even a second of sitting on the sideline is the worse than any of the physical torture from physical therapy. Your feelings are a rollercoaster. You feel lazy and useless, like you're letting down your team. You feel angry, wondering how you managed to get injured in the first place. Mostly, there's an overwhelming sense of frustration, as an athlete who is not allowed to compete.

You might already be past all of the fresh pain of the injury. You might already be playing again. Or you might not ever play again. To those who are playing again, congratulations. I hope that you are back to your prime, and that you never feel the pangs of your previous injury. To those who may never play again, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry that you have lost a part of yourself in losing your sport, but I also know that you will figure out that you are so much more than just an athlete. You are a better person for having been an athlete.

You're never going to stop loving the game, but don't worry, you'll just find another way to love it.

Another Injured Athlete

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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