For an athlete who truly loves to play the sport, getting injured is one of the hardest detours he will ever take.
A detour takes us on a different path than we planned. Sometimes it is a longer path and feels like it is headed nowhere.
I remember one detour we took last summer on our cross-country move from California to Florida. We were somewhere in Indiana, I think, and we were forced on a detour that took us 2 hours out of our way. Or maybe we misunderstood the detour and got lost!
That’s another thing about detours. Sometimes when you are taking them, you get lost because you don’t follow the signs correctly.
The same thing can happen when an athlete takes a sports injury detour. It is one of those times in life when he can either follow the detour and get safely back on the path, or he can get lost and not find his way back. With your help and support, he will not get lost and can learn some very valuable life-lessons as he detours.
What can he learn?
To be a selfless team player
When your child is benched for an injury, encourage him to support and encourage his team mates. Since he cannot contribute as a player in the game, he may feel like he is not part of the team. But his encouragement and support will build team spirit and help his focus to move past his own troubles.
To trust the detour signs
The injury detour could include going down a path of rehab that seems ridiculously long, and may even feel like it will never end. It will mean sitting out until the doctor says “all clear” even when your athlete feels he’s ready to go.
Straying from the injury detour path of proper treatment–that will eventually guide you safely back to your athletic path–could result in a worse injury or a re-injury.
To work towards a goal and not give up
Coming back from an injury is hard work. You not only have to strengthen what was injured, you have to get back in shape and catch up to your teammates. This is a great opportunity for your athlete to learn patience and persistence. Encourage them not to give up just because it’s hard.
To trust that everything has a purpose
When my son’s senior year as QB ended after the 6th game with an emergency appendectomy, we were all heartbroken. He was headed for possible all-league honors and we thought this would not only end that hope, but also put in doubt his football college career.
But my son was able to see past his injury. As he lay on the couch recooping after he came home from the hospital, he said to me, “I know that everything happens for a reason.”
As we look back on that experience 4 years ago, we cannot honestly say we know exactly what that reason was. But I will tell you this, my 22-year-old son, now playing D3 college football, is a young man of strong character. And I’m sure that the disappointment in his senior year helped build that strength in him.
If you can help your child see that detours like this are opportunities for growth, they will begin to see that indeed, everything does happen for a reason.
To come back even stronger
Injuries are not the end, although kids often feel they are because they live so much in the moment.
The appendectomy was not an end for my son, and a sprained ankle or broken bone does not have to be the end for your child. Yes, they may have to sit out a season, they may even have to give up a senior season–which always sucks.
Over the years of being a coach’s wife and sports mom, I’ve seen many kids get injured, only to come back stronger the next month or season or year.
Oh, the victory your athlete will feel when he comes back after an injury–strong and ready to face competition once again. That’s something everyone will cheer about!
Get my free new report: Sportsparents’ Guide: 55 time & money-saving tips guaranteed to make your life easier. You’ll also get regular sports parenting tips each week and a weekly parenting tip. Sign up here.
Follow me on Pinterest/a>