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 Psychology of the Injured Athlete
(11/16/2022)
 
 
   

Psychology of the Injured Athlete


Mental strategies that can help athletes overcome some of the challenges associated with injury rehabilitation.


Injuries are just as much a part of the game as batting practice and playing “pickle”. They can range from minor sliding rashes and bruises to career-threatening injuries. When your child is injured, they often experience a wide variety of emotions- perhaps denial, anger, or depression. You recognize these stages, often associated with the Grief process, and you’re right for doing so!

The injury can represent a true loss for an athlete and really, it’s quite common. The full 5 Stages of Grief are, denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. The length of time it takes the athlete to move through each stage depends on several factors, including emotional stability, type, and severity, of the injury, and the overall outlook of the injured athlete. Understanding this mindset is important for preparing an athlete for their road ahead to recovery.

The mind may recover slower than the body, and as rehab progresses, it’s common for an athlete to be physically ready for competition, but not psychologically ready in these cases. The psychological state of the athlete is as important as the athlete’s physical state, and his or her mental state can influence physiological function. Today sports psychologists are linking positive psychological strategies with a faster return to sport. So, as a parent what can you do? Here are several mental strategies that can help your child overcome some of the challenges associated with injury rehabilitation and decrease the time away from the field:

Psychological Intervention Strategies for Injury Rehab

Goal setting

Goal setting provides the athlete with a sense of control, persistence, and commitment rather than an over-reliance on their doctor or therapist/athletic trainer. In fact, the more problematic the injury and the greater the athlete’s commitment to their sport, the more intense the approach to goal setting should be. Writing down goals and planning a rehab strategy helps keep the athlete focused on healing. It’s very important, however, to set modest short-term goals since athletes can often interpret small improvements as no or insufficient improvement.

Self-talk

Injured athletes can struggle to stay positive about themselves and their injury to dwell on negative and irrational thoughts about themselves, their injury, and their return to performance, creating emotional states such as fear, anxiety, and depression – emotions shown to impair athletic performance and interfere with a successful rehabilitation. Reframing negative statements into more optimistic positive ones that are rehearsed and spoken by the athlete as part of his or her own internal dialogue can lead to more positive approaches to rehabilitation. Goal setting and self-talk are two of the most important techniques in the rehabilitation process.

Social support

In many cases in athletic situations, friendships may be suddenly changed because of the occurrence of an injury. Rehab can be a lonely place. Injured athletes may no longer see themselves as contributors, especially when they’re away from the sport. Therefore, it’s important to keep them engaged with teammates throughout their rehab. Support from significant others can contribute most to the differentiation between adherers and non-adherers of a sport injury rehabilitation – athletes are more likely to keep a commitment to another person than to themselves. It may also be a good idea to introduce the injured athlete to an injury support group which involves meeting regularly with a coach and other injured athletes to talk through their thoughts and emotions.

Imagery

According to the theories of imagery, the muscles being imagined become slightly stimulated during imagery practice, like nerve connections experienced during actual performance, meaning improved skills development. Also, according to imagery theory, since the systems of the body consist of biological, psychological, and social components, when two or more components interact, they regulate each other. It’s through these regulations that systems become interconnected. Impairment of body processes at the physiological level can disrupt the psychological level and impairment at the psychological level can disrupt the physiological level. A major objective of healing imagery is to improve the connections between these two.

It has been suggested that positive visualization can eliminate the destructive panic-stress images in the mind which can cause closing of blood vessels and reduced blood flow to the injured area. This is important because decreased blood flow is thought to be a precursor for muscle tension, a negative outcome within rehabilitation.



Injuries are part of the game, but if you’re prepared for them when they do happen, your kids will thank you! Remember, athletes who recover most quickly from injury tend to be highly motivated, take an active role in their recovery and adhere to their rehabilitation protocols. Goal-setting techniques, healing imagery, positive self-statements and stress-management techniques have all been associated with a quicker recovery from injury and gets your child back to what they enjoy!


www.journey-through-grief.com/kubler-ross-stages-of-grief.html

https://www.ncaa.org/sports/2015/2/10/the-psychology-of-sports-injuries.aspx

https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/blog/the-psychology-of-sports-injury-and-rehabilitation/  

https://natmedworld.com/psychology-injured-athlete/




The U.S. Council for Athletes' Health (USCAH) was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. You can find out more about USCAH at www.uscah.com or by reaching out to [email protected]


 9 Surprising Things You Need to Know About Inflammation
(11/24/2022)
 
 
   

9 Surprising Things You Need to Know About Inflammation


What inflammation really means for an athlete, why it’s not always a bad thing, and how to naturally lower levels of chronic inflammation.



You may have heard of inflammation in popular news media lately and wondered if it could impact your athlete. Or maybe your athlete has been feeling more sore than usual and you’re not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Inflammation sounds scary, but for athletes, it’s a natural part of the training and competition process. Here, TrueSport Expert Stephanie Miezin, MS, RD, CSSD, explains what inflammation really means for an athlete, why it’s not always a bad thing, and how to naturally lower levels of chronic inflammation.

Inflammation isn’t a bad thing
Inflammation is the natural and necessary process of the body trying to deal with an issue. It can come from many things: exercise, muscle damage or trauma, and the immune system removing pathogens in the body. We all think that inflammation is inherently bad, but it’s happening for a reason.

You may not want to decrease inflammation
Everyone wants to decrease inflammation, but there is a purpose for it. For things to heal and get better, inflammation needs to occur. For athletes, muscle damage occurs naturally through physical activity and the body's repair process will generally include some sort of inflammatory process.

Your goals matter
If an athlete is training frequently and needs to recover quickly, decreasing some inflammation is useful. On the other hand, if somebody is prioritizing adaptation to exercise (lifting heavy at the gym, for example), that means letting that inflammatory process take its course, so it may be better to skip anti-inflammatory strategies.

Skip anti-inflammatory supplements
There are a lot of anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, tart cherry juice, and antioxidant-rich foods that have been shown to decrease different markers of inflammation. When it comes to antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, ‘food first’ is recommended. We’ve seen that with supplements, some research has found that increased inflammation or increased oxidation can occur, so the supplements are backfiring.

It’s also important to remember that foods that are high in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants are generally good to eat regardless. For instance, foods that naturally contain the antioxidant vitamin C, like oranges, berries, or red peppers, contain so much more than just that one vitamin. They have beta carotene, which turns into vitamin A, and they have fiber and other phytonutrients.

Food can also cause inflammation
While some foods can help lower inflammation, other foods can exacerbate it. Refined sugar—that’s added sugar, not natural sugar from fruit or grains—can increase inflammation. More specifically, the high glucose load that comes in when an athlete eats a lot of refined sugar can lead to increased oxidation, which can harm cells and lead to inflammation. If blood glucose is going out of a healthy range frequently, that can lead to inflammation that builds up over time. Saturated fat is also associated with increased inflammation, as are fried foods, particularly those fried in oil that’s been heated and cooled multiple times.

…But athletes still need to eat
While refined sugars and fried foods might add to inflammation, it’s critical not to undereat to avoid extra sugar. Instead, try to eat healthfully with whole foods—including plenty of unrefined or less refined carbohydrates—80 percent of the time. For young athletes who are active, it might be difficult to meet all their energy needs with ultra-healthy foods, so focus on nutrient-dense sources like vegetables, protein, and whole grains in the appropriate quantities. If athletes are under-fueling, that’s going to lead to low energy availability and potentially poor immune system function and increased risk of infections. Inflammation can’t be “cured” with food Instead of looking to food to cure suspected inflammation issues, consider first where that inflammation may be coming from. For athletes, high training volume and intensity, especially for prolonged periods, could be the root of excessive inflammation. While dietary strategies may be able to help, they very likely won’t be as effective as focusing on adjusting training to better manage inflammation.

Inflammation is a moving target
Testing for inflammation, or even what the appropriate inflammation levels are, is difficult. There are some blood markers like C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and interleukin proteins 6, 8, and 10 that are used for research purposes, but even those are only part of the picture, and the ‘right’ level for people will vary. And even symptoms aren’t perfect indicators. Feeling sore is the obvious one for athletes, but even that might be related to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) rather than systemic inflammation.

Inflammation shouldn’t be your focus
Ultimately, the best offense for inflammation is a good defense. Rather than stressing about testing certain blood markers, take control of your training and fueling before it becomes a concern. Avoid overtraining and build your diet from colorful fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and fiber. Overall, people don't need to be worrying about inflammation as much as they might think.

Takeaway
To prevent inflammation, athletes should avoid overtraining and eat a whole food-based diet that contains plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains. And remember: some inflammation is a good thing.



TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.

For more expert-driven articles and materials, visit TrueSport’s comprehensive collection of resources . This content was reproduced in partnership with TrueSport. Any content copied or reproduced without TrueSport and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s express written permission would be in violation of our copyright, and subject to legal recourse. To learn more or request permission to reproduce content, click here .


 What's the Call? Option Play
(12/1/2022)
 
   

What's the Call? Option Play


What's the Call
Presented with Umpires Media


There is one out and a runner on third base. The batter swings at the pitch, makes contact with the catcher’s glove on the swing, but still manages to hit a fly ball into left field. The runner at third tags up and scores on the play. Does the run count?

For more What's the Call videos, click here.  

Umpires Media is a leading provider of video-based sports rules explanations, maker of the world’s first digital baseball rulebook and the Baseball Rules Explorer.


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