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Posts tagged life beyond the game
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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Beyond the Game: The Power of Mental Vigilance in Overcoming Challenges

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.

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