Helping your child deal with sports injuries is not easy. But you can make the experience a little less painful.
A sports parent ask:
My 12 year old excels at baseball. He plays short stop on a travel ball team. He suffered an injury last spring and has tendonitis (supposedly) in his elbow. Went to physical therapy and has been resting for 6 months. He suffered loss of morale and isn’t having any fun at practice because he can’t do anything. After 6 months of rest and physical therapy, he is still not improving so we are pursuing an MRI etc… and now he is depressed. We aren’t sure how to keep him encouraged and positive about baseball. Well, and we don’t know what, in the end, the diagnoses will be. He may need surgery and then will have a long road of rehabilitation. He is only 12. He wanted to play high school baseball. Do you have any ideas how to stay positive and handle this type of situation?
Get a positive diagnosis
I noticed how you said he has tendonitis supposedly. In a situation where the injury lingers as it has been, get another one or two opinions NOW. Don’t wait any longer. It will be better for you and for your athlete if you know exactly what you are dealing with. The uncertainties–when will it heal? will he need surgery?–add to anxiety.
Craft a game plan
Once you have a definite diagnosis confirmed by more than one specialist, then you can get proper treatment. Work with the doctor and physical therapist to get a game plan for treatment, resting, then starting in with strength building exercises, and then work-outs that gradually increase in intensity.
Keep track of it on a calendar so your son can see progress and know that he is achieving goals and will be back playing again. He needs to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And he needs to know that he is doing something now to get ready to play again, not just sitting around.
He has plenty of time
He is only 12. He has plenty of time to get healed and back in the game before high school. I know these days it’s important that he be playing in order to keep up with his peers, but if he is determined and has the passion and work ethic, he will be fine even if he is not playing 12 months a year.
Your job is to support and distract
Listen to his frustrations. Empathize with his feelings. But always be a positive voice. If he has a dream to play in high school, then do everything you can to encourage that dream. Remind him that injury or no injury, it takes hard work and persistence to be a high school athlete.
And then, look for ways to distract him from his injury. Yes, he still has to go to practice, but encourage him to pursue other interests that he can participate in now. Don’t let baseball be his whole life. Balance.
You can get your child through this tough season. It may not be easy, but he will be stronger for it.
Further reading on athletic injuries:
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