Friday, March 20, 2015
Injuries are part of life in the amateur and professional athletic world. Almost all athletes will deal with an acute or chronic injury at some point. Even though it may be a fact of life for the skilled athlete it doesn't mean they always handle it well. My own athletic training experience reminds me of the psychological difficulties associated with physical injuries.
Last week I read an article in USA Today talking about off-season injuries that affect athletes. One of the pitchers interviewed, Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago White Sox, said of these injuries, "In this game, you deny until you die." I took it to mean you don't talk about how you sustained an injury away from baseball, but I think it also applies to the mentality surrounding injuries overall. If you are in complete denial you can pretend they don't exist.
There are two different ways to view this: it's about denying responsibility for our actions and also trying to deny the truth about the severity of our injury. The first motive is a protective mechanism to keep the truth away from others and even ourselves. The latter is an effort to pretend nothing is wrong so that we can keep the lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. Neither approach is healthy (obviously) and represent a deep desire for us to cling to a part of life we are unwilling to part with even if it's time for it to pass.
What we desperately need to make it through this phase is a health dose of honesty. While that may not make a shoulder repair itself any faster, it will set our emotional, mental, and spiritual lives on the right path for healing.