The Mental State of Injured Athletes

There is a natural emotional response when a student-athlete is injured that involves interpreting the medical details given by the medical staff about the injury, as well as dealing with the injury emotionally. Such feelings include depression, loneliness, irritation, lack of motivation, annoyance, etc. Injuries are also an inevitable part of participation in sports. Many student-athletes respond differently and there is no predictable sequence or reaction. Injury response ranges from the period directly following injury through to the process of post-injury and then recovery. 

The severity of the depressive symptoms can vary based on the injury, limits to mobility, length of rehab, and delay in the athlete returning to sport or physical activity. Depressive symptoms can arise soon after the injury which could be associated with frustrations due to immobility, difficulties participating in everyday activities, and feelings of injustice and shock associated with feeling isolated, loss of skills or opportunities, and overall absence from participating in training or competition which can contribute to loss of athletic identity. (Sheinbein n.d.)

Tools for tracking psychological factors that may influence the treatment of illness and injury have been established, but none of these tools are unique to the athletic population. Some include the continuum of pain catastrophizing, the kinesiophobia Tampa scale, the patient welfare questionnaire, and generalized anxiety disorder. Athletes can report signs of depression and are less likely to seek therapy and resolve concerns with depression. In athletes, depression can be a risk factor for suicide. For college athletes, suicide is the third leading cause of death and the second leading cause of death for college students. 

In conclusion, the athletes' ability to commit to rehabilitation, as well as the value they bring to the form of recovery, affects their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions to injury rehabilitation. Here at The Houstonian Club, we have one of the best places to rehab and that is in the pools. Some of the benefits of aqua rehab include reduction in pain and muscle spasms, decreases loading of joints through buoyancy and reduction in edema through pressure from immersion.  

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of training in a pool, please contact Coach Kalvin Spells at
By Kalvin Spells, Lead Swim Coach