For Part 2 of our Injury Recovery Advice series we caught up with five experts who shared some great tips for athletes during the rehabilitation process.
If you missed Part 1, where five athletes from the Brace Community shared tips for others going through the recovery process, you can read it here.
1. Kat Williamson, Specialist in Athletic Injury Recovery and Transition out of Sport, Next Turn Therapy
"When we get injured it can feel like everything is suddenly out of our control. Our life has changed over night. It's ok for you recognise and allow for the feelings that come up with such a transition - try to lift any self judgement for the very rational feelings you might be experiencing. The next piece is to see if you can pin point some things that you still have agency over, even if these seem small - your sleep, a balanced diet, your ability to reach out for support, you physio exercises, your breathing. Gaining agency over the little things can help you feel more empowered over your life and recovery. This doesn't have to happen overnight, it is something to work towards. Go easy on yourself."
2. Ravi Patel, Performance Physical Therapist and Founder of "The ACL Athlete"
Celebrate every win. No matter how big or small. The rehab process can be very long and difficulty, both mentally and physically. Each small win adds up and compounds over time to move you closer and closer towards your end goal.
3. Coral-Jade Oakley, Health & Well-being Affiliate Practitioner & Fitness Ambassador
Acceptance is key - whether this is accepting help and support from others or the process of accepting your own thoughts and feelings surrounding your recovery, this acceptance is key to a successful and positive recovery experience. Accepting help and support from others can be difficult, however, from my own injury experience and psychological research that I have undertaken, I have found that a willingness to accept support from professionals, friends and family has promoted adherence to recovery programmes and a successful return to sport. Everyone’s injury experience is very unique and personal, therefore, an acceptance of your own thoughts and feelings is important. This acceptance is the first step that allows you to take control of your own physical and psychological recovery. A technique I found beneficial during my own injury recovery was daily journaling - this allowed me to confront and accept thoughts and feelings that I wouldn’t necessarily tell others and highlight any barriers that may be preventing a positive recovery experience."
4. Scott Gunning, Trainee Sport and Exercise Psychologist & Founder of Gunning Mental Performance
"Stay “Social”. Getting injured as an athlete, regardless of your standard, can be a hugely challenging and stressful time and often leads to negative emotions and responses such as decreased well-being and isolating from the sporting environment. However, research has indicated that staying socially involved in a training environment can lead to a greater ability to cope with injury and leads to an overall improved positive mood."
5. Dr. Liam Hennessey, Physical Therapist
"Never assume you are strong or weak. Always get a measurement of your strength. This is so easy to do and such a missed step (particularly for many ACL-ers!)."
6. Hannah Anthony, Physiotherapist
"- Write things down. I’ve never been a journal/diary person but the rehab journey is a time where you need to come to terms with the process and writing things down can help clarify.
- Mentally prepare for the long game, you’ll hit milestones, and then there will be new ones to hit.
- Be intentional with your exercises. Doing the exercises just because you have to or racing through them without proper thought or technique will only be detrimental to yourself in the future.
- Reframe your injury. You can’t rewind to change what happened, so moving forward take the time to reprioritise and decide what you want to be doing and how you want to get there."
Great advice from industry experts with experience helping athletes get through their recovery journey to come back stronger!
Remember, if you want to take control of your own recovery journey, you can download the free Brace app from our home page to empower your injury recovery in a positive and connected way!