Richard Stockton College Athletic Training

Sport Psychology Newsletter
A monthly Newsletter that will address the "mental" aspects of athletic competition. The topics will deal with athletic injury and general competition concepts and strategies.
This is the first installment of what we hope to be a regular monthly newsletter. We are very fortunate to have Doreen Greenberg, a Certified Sport Psychology Consultant, on the faculty at Stockton. We are also happy to have her contributing here.

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Doreen Greenberg is a Certified Sport Psychology Consultant, she obtained her Doctorate from Temple University in Psycho-Social Interaction in Sport and her Master's degree from Villanova University in Counseling and Human Relations. She is an Assistant Professor at Stockton. She has experience with collegiate, olympic and professional athletes. Doreen is also a member of the USOC Sport Psychology Registry.

Use Your Head . . . .You'll Heal Faster

By Doreen Greenberg, Ph.D

Rehabilitation means both mental and physical recovery from injury. Your reaction to an injury is based more on your perception of what this injury means, than on the actual physical injury itself. Possible outcomes may include a quick return to action, a long absence from competition or an end of a career. It is your personal interpretation of what is happening that has the greatest influence on your response.

Reactions to sports injury are as diverse as the athletes who participate in sports. For some it will be a catastrophe, for others an inconvenience. It is very difficult to predict how someone will react. What you should know is that it is quite normal to feel distressed, sad, and even angry about the whole thing. It is natural to be concerned about a complete recovery. After all, you have spent a lot of time, energy, and effort to become a collegiate athlete.

The emphasis of rehab should be the speedy, safe return to sport of an emotionally and physically healthy athlete. So, what can you, the injured party, do? Research has shown us that athletes who use psychological skills recover much faster than athletes who do not. Here are some of the things you can do:

•Educate yourself - make every effort to fully understand both the nature of your injury and the rehabilitation process.
•Ask questions - you can get rid of a lot of anxiety and uncertainty by getting the answers.
•Make a commitment to healing - become an active member of your sports medicine team.
•Have a game plan - take personal responsibility for your recovery process by setting goals that are:
•short (daily) and long term (return to play)
•Learn psyching strategies - through training and practice you can learn to:
•cope with pain
de-stress and relax
maintain focus on healing
•stop negative thinking
• meet the challenges of recovery with positive imagery

There is more to the recovery process than simply being there in body. There needs to be a positive attitude, an expectation of success, and an intensity to the rehabilitation routine. Become part of the rehab team. Be an active member. Learn to use the resources within you. Use your head - not only will you heal faster, but you will come back a stronger athlete.

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