The Physical and Mental Setbacks of Athlete Injuries

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Courtney Lynch, Writer

As much as nobody likes them, injuries are very common in just about every single sport or athletic activity that you can think of.  With these injuries can also come a series of different mental and physical issues.


One common occurrence among injured athletes is ignoring the injury.  Several athletes will be in a lot of pain and acknowledge the presence of the injury, but in order to keep practicing, they ignore it rather than getting the treatment in order to heal it.  With this, as you can imagine, the injury will only worsen over time which could lead to even more issues down the road.  While sometimes this is the athlete’s decision, other times the reason may even be the coach telling them to just “push through the pain”. On some less serious occasions, this method can be used safely and productively. But on the other hand, it is often not physically healthy to do even if they may be the best on the team.


There is also a strong mental aspect to being injured and having to sit on the sidelines. For many people, playing a sport or doing an athletic activity is used as an outlet. As you can imagine, having that be taken from you would do some harm to your mental state. No one who loves what they are doing wants it to be taken from them, however, a serious injury can do just that.  This mental reaction to an injury can cause issues such as depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and many more psychological side effects. Now not only is the athlete in physical pain, but also in emotional distress.


Ability and performance can also be greatly affected by injuries. Taking a significant amount of time off of any activity, athletic or not means that you will have to put in some work to get back to where you were before.  Frequently, an athlete will be able to go back to participating but be weaker than they were before which can be really discouraging. But what can be even worse is if the injury ends their athletic career for good. This can relate back to the mental health ideas in the sense that almost everyone who can no longer do something that they love will experience harsh feelings over it.  


In the NCAA there are 20,718 football injuries a year, and of those, 841 are spinal injuries.” (Pro Athlete Law Group)

An extreme injury such as a spinal injury is enough to disable someone completely, which would obviously mean that their last time playing the sport that they love was the time that they suffered from this severe injury.  


It is pretty obvious that a sprained ankle and a spinal injury are on two very different levels, but it is important to still sympathize with every type of injury.  Being injured is definitely a physical setback but it can also be a mind game that one must overcome as well. 







“Mind, Body and Sport: How Being Injured Affects Mental Health.”,

“Student Athletes’ Unaware of Career Ending Injuries.” Pro Athlete Law Group, 6 Nov. 2015,