Recommendations for the Permanently Sidelined Athlete
by Matt Brown, PhD
Counselor/Sports Psychology and Sidelined Chicago Advisory Board Member
It is normal and healthy to experience a period of sadness following a career-ending injury. Take some time to come to terms with what has happened. It will help you to move forward when you’re ready.
Talk about it. It can be beneficial to express your feelings to someone that you trust.
Identify those people who can provide support and encouragement in coping with your injury.
Put it in perspective. Consider your injury within a broad picture. Identify the other positive aspects of your life that will not be affected.
Focus on the future. You cannot change the past. Direct your time and energy to those things you can control. Consider all the possibilities for future pursuits.
Identify key interests or pursuits in which you have some ability or are willing to develop. Acknowledge that you have many traits that made you successful in a sport that can help you achieve outside of it.
Surround yourself with people with whom you share common interests, values, and qualities. Identify those people that hold you in high esteem regardless of your sporting exploits.
Stay active. Physical activity has always been a large part of your life. Find activities that will allow you to maintain some level of fitness and physical enjoyment.
Be open to new pursuits and leisure activities. There are many ways to find fulfillment if you are willing to find them. Also consider also the things that gave you a pleasant break from competition while you were competing.
Consider activity in which you can help others to develop and achieve. A great deal of satisfaction can come out of such opportunities.
Have faith that, with a new focus and a positive attitude, life after competitive sports can be as rewarding as life was with it.