Career Ending Injury Now What?
We never hope for catastrophic injuries but when career ending injuries occur, they can be quite gruesome.
Suffering a career ending injury can be a devastating effect that causes an involuntary termination of an athlete’s participation in sports. There are stories in the news all the time about the rigorous training and pain athletes endure on a daily basis just to keep their bodies in shape to avoid something catastrophic.
But what happens when something does go wrong?
What happens when he or she experiences what is known as a career ending injury?
Using the studies done by The University of Tennessee it’s plain to see what athletes go through during the course of a career ending injury. Between the five stages of grief the roller coaster ride athletes will feel will at times feel tumultuous and burdensome but the potential for what each individual possesses can perhaps change the world.
We never hope for these types of catastrophic injuries but when career ending injuries occur, they can be quite gruesome.
We will forgo putting a compilation of photos together of career ending injuries but if interested just search for Joe Theisman’s Injury, Eric Legrand, Kevin Everett, and Cam Neely just to name a few. Each one of these players suffered something similar in the fact that they all suffered an injury that would hinder their ability to perform the sport they loved any further.
A career ending injury is the worst-case scenario for an athlete. Their livelihood can be cut short in an instant and this can have lasting impacts on an athlete’s psych and moral. But it’s not just superstar athletes who end up getting their careers cut short it happens every day.
Although the television cameras are not on these players the injuries that are suffered can be some of the most impacting.
Denial & Isolation
When an injury happens the first thing about recovering is going through the five stages of grief. The initial stage will at times be denial and isolation. When getting the word that your career is over it’s difficult for the brain to comprehend and rationalize the overwhelming emotions that can bring.
The fear of not knowing what is coming next causes anxiety. It’s important at this stage to try and keep a level head.
As the denial and anger begin to take a toll on a person they may turn to anger. When the doctor told me I had a career ending injury was I upset? Yes, it was one of the most difficult things to accept. Athletes should not harbor anger toward doctors.
They can be wrong at times but if the prognosis is grim, they are only doing their jobs. They want you to be as safe as possible and to hopefully make a full recovery.
It is wise that if a patient is feeling angered after suffering a severe injury that they have the doctor explain it to them a few times if necessary, to fully grasp the complexity of the situation. Understanding the options that remain in front of the athlete will ultimately guide them through the recovery process.
Sometimes this can be a prevalent step of recovery. I know that during my recovery I had gone through flashbacks of:
“How would I have done this differently?”
"What if I just walked over to get some water?”
“Could I have just planted my leg differently?”
And so on.
While laying in a hospital bed you have a lot of time to think about the injury that occurred. Some people may try and make a bargain with god or a higher power that be to help them during this time.
During this point of my recovery I was just bargaining any way out of the pain and to return to normal as quickly as possible.
There may be times when athletes can fall into depression after being deprived of the sport they love playing. This is often a pivotal period and surrounding yourself with friends and family for emotional support is key. There is so much potential for anyone going through a recovery.
No matter what the obstacles you can do anything you set your mind to. Although this is difficult to convey to a person with a lengthy recovery in front of them anything is possible.
Reaching this stage in the during the career ending injury diagnosis is important. Accepting it and moving on in life is one of the most difficult yet satisfying things a person can do. With so many possibilities out there and opportunities that life can bring accepting a new part of life can be a great turning point.
You may realize there are things out in the world you never understood before. There may be places you go that you may have never imagined. There may be another line of work that you fall in love with.
The point being is that these five stages will no doubt challenge the psych of a person but can ultimately leas a person down a road they never dreamed was possible.
I am not a superstar athlete or a famous person, but I am just one of many writing to inform you of the thousands of people just like me who have gone through the same thing. Everyone has a different story of who they are and how they got where they are in life.
In a way we are all similar in the fact that no matter how you got there the memories and stories will always impact each person’s life accordingly.
After The Injury
After all is said and done here are some things you can do in order to best figure out what is next in life.
Travel – Traveling is one of the greatest benefits of using a knee scooter. People travel all over the world and show that just because they have an injury, doesn’t mean it needs to slow them down. Traveling can lift spirits and take you places you have never dreamed were possible. You can learn all about traveling with an injury by clicking here.
Try A New Career – After a career ending injury you may want to try a new career. Often a new career can lead to some great benefits. Even if its being an athletic trainer, being a sportswriter or something totally different utilizing the skillsets a person has can be highly beneficial.
Michael Irvin is one of the many players who turned to broadcasting after his career ending injury. There are so many opportunities for people to change careers. All it takes is a little hard work and motivation and anything is possible.
Spend Time With Family – This is not only a great way to lift the spirits of a person going through recovery, but it can have an impact of family members too. While I was going through my recovery seeing family really elevated my spirits.
The experiences and lessons learned can go a long way in life. Just sitting and talking to family members can teach you about things you never knew. Perhaps you learn something about your family history. Its also a great way to pass the time as the recovery progresses.
Find Peace Of Mind - Finding inner peace and accepting the injury is one way to find a peace of mind. Some people turn to meditation, some turn to working out, others turn to god, but what ever finds you that inner peace is incredibly important. Remember that life is a gift. You have to cherish every moment and make it count.
Instead of being angry at the situation look at it as a challenge. Maybe it’s a lesson you will learn along the way that will propel you throughout the rest of your life.
I met this man in the airport the other day. He was wearing a Korea Veteran Hat. It turns out that man disarmed bombs during his trips over there.
He said he lost many of his friends in Korea but that didn’t deter him from living for them every day. He lives every day for the people who didn’t make it back. That touched me and in a way, we can do the same for people who are suffering
All those kids in hospitals that may or may not ever make it out who are suffering from cancer or other diseases. You can live for the people who may never walk again, speak again, or wake up again. That’s how you can find peace of mind.
Live everyday and appreciate the moment while you have it.