The reality is, for many athletes, the peak performance era in competitive sports is sometimes ended sooner than expected. Whether that be a career-ending injury, repeat injuries that eventually make a comeback next to impossible, a new medical diagnosis, or a series of concussions that threaten to impact long-term brain health, being forced out of a competitive sport due to medical reasons can be devastating. More than “losing your sport” at this point, you may feel like you’ve also been stripped of your identity. Somehow, you need to make a mental shift and create a new identity. Granted, this can be extremely difficult and can take years. However, there are many ways to make this transition easier. One specific way is to retain your physicality.Read More
Insightful articles for helping permanently-sidelined athletes find a meaningful way forward.
Sometimes difficult transitions can make treating yourself kindly even more challenging. Evaluating emotional responses and internal dialogues while proceeding to implement change can be a tiresome task, as discussed in our previous articles here and here. Despite its potential difficulty, the exercise of evaluating internal dialogues can impact powerful change. Once you have learned to “mind your mind” and create more healthy internal dialogues, you are ready to start rebuilding what was lost.Read More
Being forced to retire from competing in a sport that you love is objectively heartbreaking. You’re allowed (even encouraged) to let yourself feel every negative emotion that comes with grieving the loss of a really important aspect of your life and identity. What remains important throughout this process though, is that you treat yourself with kindness and patience. You owe it to yourself to alter any internal-dialogues which threaten to convince you that these circumstances are more disastrous than you are strong.
As we begin to analyze our internal dialogues, we should be wary of unhelpful thought patterns that have manifested themselves so deeply that they impact our entire perception of the world, our experiences, and ourselves. These thoughts are not reality-based and overtime they are reinforced, resulting in biases, irrational thoughts, and groundless beliefs.Read More
When we witness the likes of LeBron James compete at highest level of play, when we watch in awe at the power behind one of Serena Williams’ serves, or when we behold the command of Clayton Kershaw’s fastball: what factors do we immediately contribute their success to?
As fans (or haters) we can speculate advantages or debate statistics, but few would dare to argue that these dominating athletes have not worked tirelessly to achieve success. What is less often considered, is the work these athletes have done within the confines of their own mind. As anyone who has competed in any arena can attest to; change, improvement, and success take hard work. If we were able to work as hard on our minds as we do in our work, sports, and relationships, we would see big change in many facets of life.Read More
The decision to recommend athlete retirement due to concerns for brain health is not one to be taken lightly. Several factors must be considered, as the removal from sport itself may lead to its own issues down the line, especially if the decision is made for the athlete instead of by or with the athlete. Most athletes, especially one-sport athletes or those playing at an elite level, identify themselves heavily with their sport. For this reason, forced retirement can have a significant impact on their overall wellbeing.
As outlined below, there are several factors to consider when discussing possible retirement from sport due to brain health concerns.Read More
Being forced to give up your sport due to health reasons can be an extremely discouraging situation. The reality for sidelined athletes is that discouragement can lead to depression and for some, depression can lead to despair. You may be struggling to find your way forward without your sport and feel hopeless or lost. You may be hurting silently and feel like nobody understands.
It is important for you to know you are not alone. Sidelined USA is made up of a team of athletes, former athletes, professionals, and community members who are all committed to helping you find a way forward that is meaningful to you.Read More
If you are aware of a sidelined athlete experiencing depression, it is essential to continuously monitor for potential suicidal tendencies. Nothing can be taken for granted. The signs of suicide risk are similar to the signs of depression so it is of utmost importance to be on the front end with suicide prevention awareness and pay close attention to a deepening depression.
Sidelined USA wishes to equip all members of the athlete’s support network to understand the signs that may indicate additional help and intervention are necessary. To that end, we have compiled the following information andRead More
What can you do as a supporter if you know a sidelined athlete in your life is dealing with depression and needs continued support? Sidelined USA has compiled this list of seven essential considerations to help get you started.
KEY 1: FIGHT THE STIGMA. Mental health is just like physical health. If someone has an injury, they get treatment; the same applies to mental health concerns andRead More
The World Health Organization estimates that over 300 million in the world suffer from depression. According to studies of depression in student-athletes, as many as one in five athletes may be depressed. Clearly depression represents an emergent health crisis with a massive scope of impact. Not surprisingly, research has identified depression as a potential outcome of the athlete’s emotional response to becoming permanently-sidelined.Read More
Being an athlete is not an easy thing to do. It takes grit, discipline, and the resounding capacity to get back up after being knocked down. These are qualities you can continue to nurture in yourself throughout the healing process. Essentially, the same mindset which made you a great athlete has the power to help you overcome the loss you are experiencing.Read More