How to Come Back from an Injury

hawaii-swimmer kinesio tape
Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

By Kate Santilena, Swimming World College Intern.

You’re rolling through the daily routine, putting hours in the pool, working day in and day out alongside your team with the only worry being, “Hopefully I don’t oversleep during my after-practice nap and am late to class.” Out of nowhere, you hear a “pop,” and a lot of unexpected pain rushes to that one part of your body that has been slightly irritating you the past few days. You can’t move without the excruciating sting, and in that moment, you know something is wrong.

Although not all injuries are the same or occur the same way, they are a part of every sport – including swimming. Here are a few ways to bounce back after suffering from an injury.

Keep a Positive Attitude

UH freestyle

Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

With every injury, there is mental side to recovery that must take place along with the physical recovery. Injuries bring challenges such as frustration and impatience, but identifying these traits and addressing them is key to turn around our spirits. Don’t let these feelings get the better of you; trust the plan put forth by your doctors and athletic trainers. As cliché as it might sound, a positive attitude plays is a huge role in recovery. This is not to say that there will not be times that are more frustrating than others and to dismiss these feelings; however, it is important acknowledge the feelings and address them with more positivity. Along the road to recovery, having a positive outlook on the future helps lift our spirits and drives us to work past the bump in the road.

Focus on Moving Forward

Athletic injury

Photo Courtesy: Physio Pro

Experiencing any type of injury is a bummer, especially when it gets in the way of our normal practice routine. Many times, athletes are given rehabilitation programs with the hope that the program helps speed up recovery and gets the swimmer back in the water. At times, being knocked down a level has the potential to bruise an ego or two. No athlete likes it when they are told they cannot train at the same level or even needs to take days off… especially swimmers. However, this time is essential to recovering from injuries. It is not fun by any means, but making the most of the situation includes attacking each rehabilitation session like we would a practice. Acknowledge each session and each day as a step towards getting back to tip-top swimming shape. With this mentality, our natural swimming determination arises, and our focus is still set on improvement in the sport we love.

Lean on Support

UH teammates

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

As mentioned before, the road to recovery can be a bumpy one. One of the greatest benefits of being a swimmer is that we develop a swimming community. Do not be afraid to lean on it every so often when you might be harder on yourself than normal. As student-athletes, we have teammates, trainers, and coaches with their own unique experiences with injuries. Developing relationships with these support systems is key to battling injuries.

Avoid Disconnecting From the Team

UH pool deck

Photo Courtesy: UH Swimming & Diving

Injuries, no matter how bad they might be, do not define who we are are as students, swimmers, or teammates. That being said, we cannot let them. Many times when experiencing injuries, we want to crawl into our own world and disappear; however, it is important to continue to be a present and active member of the team. Instead of giving in to the frustration of not swimming with your team, show them you are still there: become the team’s number one fan. Odds are, sooner than later, you’ll be right back there and everyone will remember the support you gave.

There are a fortunate few who do not experience any injuries throughout their career. More likely than not, we have experienced some sort of injury, small or life changing, due to the sheer intensity the sport of swimming brings. No matter the scale of the injury, there are many ways to move past it and come back better than before.

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