If you've been an athlete for any period of time, you've most likely experienced some sort of injury during an event, practice, etc. You love the sport you play, but it's always a downer when you experience an injury doing what you love. Sometimes we get lucky and only get a few bruises or scratches. Sometimes it may be temporary like a broken bone or concussion, even though that still sucks. However, sometimes the injury may be something that causes you pain over an extended period of time, causes surgery, or maybe even knocks you out of playing for a while, or for forever.

My sport of choice is barrel racing. For those of you that have no idea what that is, it involves riding a 1200 pound animal with a mind of its own, as fast as you will let it go, around three metal barrels. Sounds fun right? Well, to some of you, it may sound crazy, but to me, it's my favorite thing ever.

I started riding horses about a year and a half ago, and started barrel racing soon after that. In the short time after I started racing, I had some wrecks with two different horses. Three wrecks to be exact, that involved me falling off the horse at a decent speed and landing on my right hip on really hard ground. These three incidents caused me to jam my hip joint in two places, which is pretty painful and kinda puts a damper on riding. Now I know this may sound like nothing to some of you who have had surgeries and serious major injuries, but to me, it's been a pretty big obstacle.

You see, barrel racing takes quite a bit of guts. If you don't know much about horses, they can be a little intimidating. Since I've only been around horses for less than two years, experiencing what I have could have easily caused me to quit.

But that's the thing. I can't. If you love a sport like I love barrel racing, you know that you can't just quit. It doesn't matter how scared you are, or in my case, how long it takes you to get your speed back up, or your confidence back up, you've gotta "get back on the horse."

You can't let your setbacks define you. You can't let your injuries define you. You have got to get back in the game and use that experience as an advantage. You've gotta say, "Hey, you know what? If I can go through what all I've been through and still get back out here, I'm tougher than you think. I've got this." It's so easy to quit. You could just blame your injury and everyone would understand, right? But why take the easy way out? Why not make everyone think, "Dang, she's/he's still playing? After that injury? They must really love it. They must really be tough." What better way to make your opponent nervous? What better way to be an example for others? What better way to help you get through everything else in life? Because this doesn't just apply to sports. If you can do this on the field, in the arena, etc., you can do this when you have setbacks in life.

So, whatever injury you're going through, don't let it get you down. OVERCOME. It will not win. You've got this.