Support, the often forgotten essential tool of rehabilitation.
Having recently watched ‘All or Nothing‘ featuring the Arizona Cardinals. I was particularly impressed by the support of Tyrann ‘Honey Badger’ Mathieu following a serious knee injury. Rather than be pushed to the back while his replacements took centre stage, Mathieu’s was treated like the star he is and so allowed to join in and celebrate the rest of the season he so greatly contributed to.
This made me reflect on my own experience of providing support within the rehabilitation of clients.
Too many times within grassroots I have experienced players being put down by their coaches and fellow team mates through missing games due to serious injuries. This mocking is often because they’re not ‘putting their body on the line’ for the team, which is primarily due to the fact that they’ve done this one too many times and their body has finally given up.
‘I’m not playing coz I can’t. He’s not playing coz he won’t’ – A quote from a conversation I overheard this weekend at a rugby game – referencing a player whose injury wasn’t seen to be as severe.
What angers me the most is that no credit and understanding is given to these players who are working their boots off to get back onto the field. It is then left to me as their rehabilitator to not allow this player to become despondent.
Not only is this attitude destructive to the team environment but it is harmful to athletes mental and physical well-being.
If it was me, I know I certainly wouldn’t want to return to a team with an attitude like this.
As a therapist, my role is not to simply put the recovering athlete through a series of drills, but to also ensure a good mental state and preparedness through listening and advising the client when they have concerns. Thus I try to ensure all my sessions are run with light-heartedness, good-humour and in a safe environment, where they can feel relaxed and open to talk. By doing this, my athletes work hard to please both themselves and me.
Support from the team and staff are not the only places this care should be coming from, support from both friends and family are key. This allows for good psychological health within and away from sport, aiding better recovery.
Happily I have not encountered this attitude within American Football, and I hope that I never will. Remember to be careful in what you say to team mates, and remember they are still as much part of the team as you are.
Let me know your thoughts on this area! Have you experienced a lack of support from your team and how did you overcome it? Or have you always felt supported by your team? Let your team mates know by posting below!