Carrie Jackson Cheadle lives in Northern California and is a Mental Skills Coach and Certified Mental Performance Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Carrie co-authored the book “Rebound” alongside Cindy Kuzma which provides a psychological guide to recovering from injuries, as well as founding The Injured Athletes Club to direct recovering athletes to relevant resources and supports.
“One more run.” That’s the thought I had in the spring of 2002 right before I tore my MCL on my left knee; the knee I already had surgery on a few years earlier when I tore my meniscus. I was on the ski lift, about to take the last run of the day, on the last day of the season. I was getting ready to celebrate my best season ever, and instead I was being lifted onto an emergency sled.
I had a really challenging recovery from my previous knee injury. I struggled tremendously with fears of re-injury and trusting my knee; my body was healed way before my mind ever was. Luckily, when I tore my MCL I was in the middle of my graduate studies in sport psychology, so when I was strapped into the sled and being taken down the mountain, I made a decision.
I decided I would take everything I was learning in the classroom about optimal performance and apply it to recovering from this injury. I decided my recovery was now my sport and I was going to do everything in my power to get through this injury 100% motivated to my recovery, and 100% confident in my return. And that is exactly what I did. My recovery was vastly different than what I had experienced with my previous knee injury, and one of the first thoughts I had during my very first run the following season was: "Every injured athlete needs to have access to these tools." I came back both mentally and physically stronger. I figured it out on my own, and I did it alone. But you don’t have too.
Injuries affect nearly every athlete, and the impact is mental as much as it is physical. Right now, you’re likely feeling isolated, disconnected from your team or training partners. You’re stressed out by dealing with this setback—and at the same time, robbed of one of your main coping mechanisms. You may even be feeling a loss of identity—who am I, if I can’t train, compete, or move my body in the way I’m used to?
We’re here to tell you: You’re still an athlete. You’re not alone in feeling this way. And you have a critical advantage: All the time, skills, and energy that have propelled you forward in your sport can also help you overcome this setback.
Injury sucks, but you don’t have to go through it alone.
You can find out more about Carrie, The Injured Athletes Club and the resources they offer here.
If you’d like to share your injury recovery story with the Brace Community, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and remember you can download the free Brace app from our home page to take control of your injury recovery in a positive and connected way!