Sidelined USA
Reuniting sidelined athletes with their passions

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Insightful articles for helping permanently-sidelined athletes find a meaningful way forward.

Posts tagged athletic injury
Healthy Adjustment to Career-Ending Injury or Health Condition Part 6: Retaining Physicality

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.

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Becoming Sidelined: Managing Negative Self-Talk

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.

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Becoming Sidelined: When Depression Turns to Despair

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. 

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Becoming Sidelined: Signs and Symptoms of Depression

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.

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Becoming Sidelined: Creating a Healthy Identity Beyond the Game

“You’re only as good as your last game . . . match . . . race.” Sound familiar? 

As a competitor, it is common to tie your athletic identity to your performance in your sport. What can happen though it you aren’t careful is that your performance can become the key indicator of how you measure your worth and subsequently, can greatly impact how happy you are overall in life.

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10 Ways to Help Permanently Sidelined Athletes

Whether you are a friend, family member, teammate, athletic trainer, or coach of an athlete who has recently been permanently sidelined, the grief of the sidelined athlete can weigh heavy on you as well. You want to help but it can be tough to know what to say or how to ease the pain of the athlete who has experienced such a devastating loss. Following these research-based guidelines, you can support the permanently sidelined athlete in navigating a healthy adjustment to his or her new reality and have a positive impact in the athlete’s emotional recovery.

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