Coach and Athletic Director

January 2018

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48 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 SPORTS MEDICINE SPOTLIGHT caring for athletes Because of the high demands placed on elite athletes, injury is virtually inescapable. With increasing early sport specialization comes a particular vulnerability to developmental and overuse injuries. In 2013, an estimated 27 million athletes between the ages of 6 and 18 participated in team sports, and injury incidence averages were greater than 50 percent. With an increase of sport injury comes the need for increased knowledge regarding holistic wellness. So how do we keep our athletes healthy, both mentally and physically? When athletes get hurt, it's not uncommon for them to experience negative emotional effects such as shock, anxiety, anger and guilt. It's imperative that we not overlook this component of the injury experience — mind and body work hand-in-hand, in life and sport. And, if the goal of the sports medicine team is to return the injured athlete to participation at optimal performance, careful attention should be given to complete rehabilitation. To make any sort of change to injury mindset, we must first help the athlete recognize how they're thinking. Cognitive restructuring involves: • Awareness. Help the athlete recognize their internal dialogue and whether it's positive or negative? • Appraisal. Assess ways of modifying the athlete's dialogue. • Adoption/substitution. Help the athlete take control of their rehabilitation by adopting new thinking. Encourage permanence through repetition. • Evaluation. Assess how changes in thought has affected rehabilitation outcome. The power of self-talk Given the negative emotional state experienced at injury onset by many athletes, negative self-talk may predominate thought. They might ask, "Why did this happen to me?" or "Am I ever going to rebound?" Negative self-talk can serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The first step in modifying self-talk is recognizing moments during rehabilitation where psychologically healing INJURED ATHLETES By Kelsey Griffith, columnist

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