Essay Example: Anxiety Following Sports Injuries

Published: 2022-06-15
Essay Example: Anxiety Following Sports Injuries
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Sport Post traumatic stress disorder
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1853 words
16 min read

The psychological reaction to injury among athletes can generate mental health issues like anxiety and affect their performance. A sports injury in most cases affects human bones and the soft tissues like tendons, muscles, and ligaments. When a serious injury occurs, athletes are surrounded by fear and they struggle to reclaim confidence. Undeniably, injuries in sports are unavoidable and sometimes it can be hard to recover especially if one does not seek help from psychologists and therapists. Although most injuries are easily managed without interruption in sports participation, others impose a significant mental and physical trouble. The common problems that athletes suffer because of injuries include stress, anxiety, and a type of fear, commonly called post-traumatic stress disorder that affects one's performance in the game.

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Thesis statement: Feeling anxious following sports injury is shockingly common and several psychologists and therapists have justified this fact through research.

Supporting Argument

The definition of anxiety according to the evolutionary psychologists is an evolutionary reaction to daily dangers (Iacovou, 2011). Anxiety for many people today is viewed as a general word for numerous disorders can bring in worry, nervousness, and fear. Attaining greatness for athletes is a long journey that is filled with aches, cuts, and pains, although many try hard to conquer those bruises and bumps and keep active (Walker, 2011). However, whenever one suffers an injury, it can radically alter the way they view the sport. For a moment, you felt unbeatable, but major injuries bring the rhythm and protection you experienced malfunctioning. The feeling of anxious gains momentum when one plays the game, and as it is common knowledge, the game has to feel natural. However, when one is thinking too much concerning what they are doing, it becomes difficult to participate with the talent and confidence proved previously.

Experiencing anxiety after an injury is astonishingly common. A number of reasons may trigger feeling anxious and include fear, embarrassment, and long-term health. It is infrequent for people who suffer an injury to begin experiencing higher levels of fear when they partake in the game. Indeed, injuries are painful and once you bear in mind that you can suffer another injury in the future, one becomes worried (Dozier, 2015). Fear can be aggravated by the natural anxiety the athlete has when playing a part in a competitive match because of the adrenaline rush. This fact explains why fear is regarded as the common source of anxiety after an injury.

The long-standing health factor also brings the worry that one may never get back to where they once were before the occurrence of the injury (Walker, 2011). For instance, if a footballer breaks their leg from an attack by the defender, that footballer may be anxious that their leg is not going to heal properly. Moreover, it is possible to worry that one will not be able to perform footwork or dribble the ball as they managed earlier. Embarrassment is an important aspect to examine. The ability to perform constantly, whereas avoiding major injuries, among many athletes defines their source of success and pride. Therefore, when an injury happens, the very same athletes are accompanied by embarrassment and are nervous about their talents and the manner they are viewed by the fans.

Description of Evidence

Human psychological reaction to injury entails emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses. It is predictable that the psychological reaction to injury, for instance, negative emotions and a decline in self-belief arise in the face of injury. Hence, this results in the growth of re-injury fears within the athlete. A genuine research study completed in 2000 and printed in 'psychology and health' revealed that anxiety following sports injuries influences rehabilitation (Wolfe 2017). To draw a conclusion from the study, researchers examined several athletes that were undertaking rehabilitation following different injuries. Through employing rating scales, the investigators found that the contestants who were anxious about re-injury were less expected to follow the rehabilitation program. Based on their investigation, it was revealed that the lack of enthusiasm following an injury perhaps was an averting behavior and an indicator of emotional suffering instead of a determined disregard of a training session.

The human brain has the ability to repair itself when positive thought is given the priority. As such, it is possible for an injured athlete to regain confidence using the power of positive thought in exercise, therapy, and training sessions. According to Doidge (2008), it is possible for one to recover from an injury, although this largely depends on the individual willingness to cooperate. To justify his assumption, Dodge uses the example of a woman who was unable to dress or feed himself but later learned to talk and move. The woman had a strange brain condition that somehow gave her the feeling as if she were continuously falling. However, it is worth noting that the continuous engagement in exercise helped to rewire her brain and overcame the challenge. The incredible work by Doidge implies that the human brain contains the ability and the power to change most of our problems and injuries that affect us.

There are several questions arising from anxiety following sports Injury. What is fear? Does it serve any purpose? Where does it originate? Fear is a distasteful emotion resulting from the threat of harm and pain. Phobia is another term that is commonly confused with fear. A phobia refers to a kind of anxiety disorder, characterized by extreme fear of a situation that has occurred such as a major injury. In most cases, the phobia gives rise to a quick inception of fear and is there for a couple of months. According to Dozier (2015), human lives are shaped by fear. Therefore, fear plays a great role to push us to accomplish our greatest objectives. The scholar delves into the science of the brain plus the daily reality of human emotion, especially following an injury to justify the healing procedure that should be adopted.

There are two major categories of anxiety namely existential and neurotic anxieties. Different practitioners and philosophers have a varied definition of existential anxiety. For instance, Kierkegaard views it as an adventure that humanity must encounter, whereas Heidegger (1962) connects it to human consciousness of the predictability of death and the 'impossibility of our possibilities'. Sartre (1958) defined it as an important experience that gives us the freedom in connection to our nothingness (Iacovou, 2011). Neurotic anxiety is defined as a distraction that pushes one to shift their attention away from their trouble. Tillich (1980) views it as the feeling a person gets when they choose to obey the rules, allow the conditions of others to attain protection and personal growth. There are several negative implications in response to neurotic anxiety, counting the focus on symptoms. Existential anxiety is common and unavoidable. Hence, several aspects including life events and the capacity to deal with life paradox affect one's reaction to the anxiety.

Fear and anxiety frequently crop up together although both are not interchangeable. Despite the fact that the symptoms are related, an individual's experience with such emotions varies based on their situation. Whereas fear and stress may arise to a known threat, anxiety emerges from a poorly distinct threat. Several parts of the brain are linked with anxiety. Biological studies and sciences reveal that the human brain is a complex system. There are five basic organs in the brain concerned with how we think, feel, and act or behave (Restak, 2010). It is worth noting that irregularities in these organs can trigger the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The Basal Ganglia puts the human body idle and anxiety level. The temporal lobe is the brain's memory controller and predictor of experience (Wilson, 2011). The anterior cingulate functions as the brain device that permits the human body to feel flexible and adjust to change. While the prefrontal cortex is the brain manager, the deep limbic organ functions as the brain's emotional hub that assist the manner we feel.

Summary of Interpretation

After a sports injury, it is common for an athlete to feel mild anxiety concerning recovery. To some extent, it serves a function by offering some protection from a second injury. Nevertheless, the feeling of intense and persistent fear can eventually disrupt an athlete's return to the game. Such condition can be complex and may frequently emerge from several factors, counting insecurity, outside pressures, idealistic expectations about recovery, and neurotic worry (Le Doux, 2013).

Several steps have been found helpful to help athletes cope with anxiety after sports injuries. It is crucial to take time before rushing again to the game because fighting anxiety and struggling to recover may sometimes be a confusing procedure. It is considered helpful to start practicing slowly from scratch alone towards reclaiming full potential. For instance, if you play football, dribble the ball around alone while staying out of the sport. For a freestyle skier, it is advisable to ski in an open ground without necessary performing tricks. Healing is a process that requires a gradual process, but most importantly, it originates from the brain and ones willingness to recover.

Visiting sports psychologists is very helpful towards overcoming fear and stress. If you are overwhelmed by anxiety, the psychologists play a crucial role to train you how to alter your behaviors to overcome the worst fears. This exercise helps one to get better to their chosen sport and worry less about a re-injury. Reclaiming personal instinct is vital. One of the major reasons you were capable to avoid injury before is because of the instinctive ability to avoid the same (Restak, 2010). A good example here is how baseball players bend from stray pitches. Following an injury, however, baseball players begin to fear that any ball approaching inside may cause harm to them again.

Some injuries such as shin splints, groin pull, patellar tendinitis, and concussions may be career threatening and so require cautious handling. It is the desire of every athlete to heal and recover fully after an injury (Walker, 2011). The process of healing starts from the athlete's brain and proceeds to the acceptance to knockout fear and worry. Although most of the athletes recover fully and continue enjoying their game, it is reported that a small number do not successfully regain their known reputation in the game. Although sports psychologists have contributed greatly in helping athletes after an injury, some questions about the subject continue to trigger more actions. Does the area of the brain linked with anxiety heal completely as the human body recovers from an injury? Does an athlete need a particular level of anxiety to improve their creativity in sports and attain the greatest potential in the game? Further research on anxiety following sports injuries is required to answer these questions.


A sports injury imposes both physical and psychological effects for the athlete. The fear of being injured again in sports can result in poor rehabilitation results. Therefore, integrating codes of psychologically conversant practice into major injuries rehabilitation is the key to improve the desired results for the athletes. Indeed, injury remains to be a common danger to both elite and non-elite sport. As such, the manner we deal with it determines one's path to either full healing or re-injury.

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