The Fear of Injury; Prevention and Recovery
I've decided to discuss an issue that affects not only college lacrosse players, but all college athletes. I must admit it is one of my biggest fears because of what it would cause not only to myself, but my entire team. That fear is getting injured. All the hard work we put in isn't half as bad as the pain you feel when you have you watch from the sideline.
But the point of this isn't to make others afraid of injuries, too. I'm not an expert on injury prevention, but I'm going to discuss it and what to do if an injury unfortunately does happen.
Preventing injuries is one of the most important things for me right now, as I am the only goalie on my team. When you're seeing every single shot, and taking every single rep you have to take care of your body. Even if you aren't, everyone's body takes a toll during practice and recovery is vital.
There are many ways you can prevent injuries. One of the most important ones is to STRETCH. Stretching before and after practice is crucial to keeping your muscles loose during and after practice.
Another great tool for prevention and recovery is to foam roll. Most athletes have these in their training rooms. Before every one of our lifts we all foam roll for 10 minutes, and I come in the training room early everyday to foam roll out anything that feels sore before practice. Another way to help recover your muscles is to ice bath. You definitely have to bring friends to distract from the temperature though! There are many other things you can do. Those are the main tools we use at Stanford.
We also have this machine called Normatec that looks like space pants basically. You slide them on your legs and this small machine fills them up with air compression and helps a great deal with recovery.
So what do you do when an injury does happen? Unfortunately I have dealt with some serious ones myself, last year having a stress fracture in one foot and then over this past summer getting another in the other foot. While it stinks to just be on the sidelines watching practices, lifts, and runs, it can also be extremely beneficial if you let it. Being out can really get your mind refocused and it also can make you appreciate the game even more. Also, sometimes you can learn more from watching the game than playing it. I found that out pretty quickly last year. It can be very beneficial to watch others to really see from an outside perspective what is going on. Instead of feeling down about not playing, it's important to keep a good attitude and just focus on the recovery and getting yourself back out there.
There are many ways that injuries can be prevented. Unfortunately injuries are a part of the game. Things just happen. However, there are ways you can respond that will make you an even better player than you were before.