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Recovering from an injury requires more than physical healing, says expert

Langara athletes describe how their injuries affect their bodies and minds

Coach Curtis Nelson fist bumping Falcons basketball player. Photo by Joshua Rey
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Reported by Joshua Rey

The physical side of sports injuries are always talked about, but never the mental side, said a Langara women’s basketball coach.

The Falcons were down two players for the last few games of the fall semester due to injuries. Head coach Curtis Nelson said it really affected the team’s game on and off the court.

“It was very difficult,” Nelson said. “Our team was so depleted we had to play with one or no subs. Injuries change everything from management to strategy and the coach must be creative.”

The players, Jules Duong and Alexa Laines, suffered injuries last semester that affected their mental health.

Dr. John Coleman discusses the importance of taking care of injuries and seeking support:

During the last game of the fall semester Laines suffered her fifth concussion.

“I had to take time off to heal the brain,” Laines said. “I had to not only take time off from basketball, but from other things as well.”

For example, Laines said she was told to limit her screen time.

She said it was tough for her to watch from the sidelines, especially after seeing the team blow a big lead against Camosun. As the number of injuries on the team increased, Laines said she felt angry and down, especially when people asked about how she was doing.

Dr. John Coleman of the Canadian Sports Psychologist Association said the mental aspects of injuries are just as important as the physical.

Dr. John Coleman discusses the mental response to an injury:

“The mind and body are connected and cannot be separated,” Coleman said. “Athletes are competitive and when they get injured, they feel like they are not contributing to the team. That’s why they can get elements of depression and anxiety.”

Injuries are inevitable in sports. It is a matter of when and not how. Nelson said it is all about perspective from a player.

“An injury is a test,” Nelson said. “You can let it bring you down mentally, or persevere and come back stronger. It’s up to you.”

Dr. John Coleman discusses devastating injuries: 

 

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