How to get Through a Soccer Injury
Soccer: Getting Over an Injury
Recently coming back from hip surgery and having been injured on a lot of occasions during my soccer career, getting over an injury is a huge part of soccer. When you're injured, you should stop participation immediately until you're properly evaluated by a physician or a doctor.
Once you have the prognosis, you should take the precautions and treatments necessary to get the healing in motion and to get back on the field as quickly as possible. Fortunately, most injuries are seen as minor ones—only needing a bit of rest, ice, and elevation (RICE). However, if the injury is a bit more serious, follow the instructions of a doctor to move on.
Those injuries that are caused by overuse, normally an athlete should rest but can sometimes even continue playing and practicing, simply with modifications.
Don’t always try to push through the pain! This can make things much worse and can actually be dangerous, especially for injuries like stress fractures, knee ligament injuries, and any injury to the head or neck.
Here are a few tips when getting over an injury:
- Take your time. Especially if you're injury required a long rest period, don’t think that you'll just hop back on the field in perfect shape with an excellent touch. You will get back to your old self on the field but these things take time. Don’t rush the process or you can risk re-injuring yourself.
- Take it slow. Build yourself back up to your original state of fitness and playing by taking it slow. Follow a gradual training plan made by a doctor or a trainer. If you try and rush this process you can risk re-injuring yourself or even injuring another part of your body because it will be trying to compensate for the injured part. You can just as easily put yourself back a few steps instead of inching forward. Follow protocol as best you can following an injury so that you keep yourself healthy and eventually get back into shape.
- Don't let frustration get the best of you. It can definitely be frustrating, especially at the beginning of your journey back to the field. The first thing you'll notice is that your touch will be sloppy and off. You'll also notice your fitness level—possibly getting out of shape and out of breath much easier and quicker than before. To get you back where you belong, work on juggling and focus on small improvements and grow your fitness back gradually.
- Don't be afraid of re-injury. Of course, this feeling is natural—especially if you had just gone through a heavy injury. However, if your doctor has cleared you to play, then you should really trust his medical professional advice and give it all you got! You can’t control how your body will react but you can control your confidence. It will also come with time. Focus on the little goals of training and getting back to your fit state.
Written By: Adriana Rodrigues is a professional soccer player and a coach. She has over twenty years of experience in soccer after having played in a Division 1 University and has represented two national teams, both Brazil and Portugal.