hacks for injured athletes

 6 Mental Toughness Hacks for Injured Athletes

Injuries are unfortunately a part of the world of being an athlete, even a corporate athlete.  

I feel bad however when I witness so many athletes having the brutal experiences through their injury and especially returning to injury.

Inside of the sport itself, and not an outside life event, Injuries are the toughest process for an athlete to handle. There are so many emotions, expectations, pressures, and stressors that accompany an injury that outside help is often needed to assist.

Here are 6  hacks for injured athletes.

Let us know if this infographic can help. If you want one more resource check out our other infographic – 5 Simple Action Steps For Hurt Athletes. 


mental toughness hacks for injured athletes

It’s a hinge moment, so athletes will experience getting depressed. Feeling the blues, getting down, sad, and angry is normal, so expect it and learn how to deal with it as a coach or parent as well. 

If you’re the one banged up, then remind yourself that this is temporary!

Here is another infographic that can help 5 actions steps for injuries.  

Here was one of our talks from the NFL combine about helping professional football players deal with these incidents! 

These mental toughness hacks for injured athletes also include being patient and saying “this too shall pass.” It’s simple, but certainly NOT easy! 

Click here if you want more information on Mental Toughness Coaching.

Remember,  It’s not about the setback; it’s about the comeback.


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

Injuries suck!

They are one of the toughest things an athlete will handle. Often, athletes do not deal well with injuries either. The way athletes cope with life issues is through their sport. If they are playing well, then everything is okay. However, once an athlete is injured, their source of coping is removed and issues can become severe.

Most athletes that are injured and can’t play, experience some sort of depression. They have lost the most precious part of their identity, so they will grieve and not know how to deal. They will become angry, sad, and feel isolated. They immediately become a lesser part of the team; heck even their rehab is done away from the team practice.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed.

Timing is everything

Injuries cause stress and when it is an important part of the season, it is way more difficult for an athlete to handle. In 2008, future Hall of Fame running back, LaDainian Tomlinson was injured in the playoffs and couldn’t play. He was criticized for how he handled the situation as a leader, but this is often what happens when athletes become hurt during critical parts of the season. They simply don’t know how to cope.

On the other hand, injuries that occur in the off-season, or pre-season can be dealt with more care. Depending on the prognosis, there is more hope that they can return, which can provide a motivating fuel for rehab.

Sport Psychology is needed

Coaches are focused on the team and personnel they have, so there isn’t much time to devote to an injured athlete. Thus, Athletic Trainers and Sport Psychology coaches are crucial when an athlete is injured. Athletes on the sidelines are more than willing to talk and this is where real support takes place, helping an athlete cope in healthy ways and channel their focus in positive directions.

Return at 100%

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

RGIII of the Washington Redskins made it public that he was going to return for week 1 of the 2013 NFL season. He did, but he was not healthy. I am not certain he was healthy at all last season and he lost confidence and performed poorly.

Athletes almost always return from their injury too soon. In the athletes mind, they feel close to the same as before the injury, however after returning too fast, they soon discover that they are off. They may feel fine for 9 out of 10 plays, but that one play where they can’t cut, accelerate, or move like before causes doubt. Physically, it causes them to muscle guard and protect the injured area.

Doubt, which has never been there before is suddenly present. Doubt causes slight hesitations, over-thinking, or even trying to do too much. As a result of the doubt and less than stellar play, they lose confidence!

It takes a village. Teammates, coaches, and loved one’s all need to support the athlete to return when completely healthy and in game shape.

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness