Staying Mentally Motivated During Long-term Injury Recovery

by Teige West

It was hard to stop the pity party. I had moments when I cried and wanted to give up. When people were celebrating the one year out to Rio, I was stressing, Oh my gosh, I can’t even run right now. I went through the typical stages of feeling sorry for yourself. Why me? Why did this happen? None of that made me feel better. What stopped that cycle was having a timeline and a goal.” Lolo Jones[1]

When I was a child, my favorite sport above all other sports was soccer. It was my refuge. My friends all played. Soccer was the one thing that I could disappear into no matter what was happening in the rest of my life. In the 7th grade I played on my middle school’s coed team, and we were good. I mean, really good. We won all of our games, usually as a shut-out, and we made it to the semi-finals of our league’s tournament. The game was almost over and the other team’s best player who was fast, very tall and very strong came toward our goal for a shot. I stepped in front of him, side-kicked the ball as he shot and somehow my cleat stuck in the turf, leaving my foot to take the full brunt of his follow-through. Another player carried me off the field, and in those few minutes, my foot was turning into a swollen mess the color of an eggplant. Meanwhile, we won the game, which meant we were going to the championship. Or the rest of the team was; I was not. I had broken my ankle, torn my Achilles, and cracked the growth plate. I remember sitting in the stands and watching my team win the last game while I sat there, happy for my team, but frustrated by my limitations.

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