I don’t think any athlete or any parent would argue that statement. They really do. Some of us handle them better than others; I would be in the second group.
I would get mad.
Long before my kids started sports, I wasn’t great around injuries. But youth sports have given me a lot of opportunities to practice and grow in this area.
I remember feeling the same exact way when I got hurt as a kid. I didn’t want help, I didn’t want attention, I wanted everyone to clear out. Unfortunately, for many years, I had a similar response when my kids would get hurt. I know this is not good. I have worked hard on changing this, and I have – to a degree. The angry feelings still arise. It’s just that I can step back from them now and give them a little space so that I can move to a more empathetic, kind, and helpful reaction.
That being said, why does it ALWAYS seem like they get hurt at the exact wrong time? Like there’s always some high-stakes event that will now be in jeopardy: the upcoming tryout, the playoffs, fighting for a position in the lineup, you name it. There never seems to be a good time. Right?!
And when the injury is severe, well, there are no words to describe what it must feel like for those kids and their parents. I have sat next to my friend twice in the past three years when her daughter tore her ACL on the field, yes twice. The entire sideline and field go quiet as the fear, dread, and yes – anger, permeate the air. It’s a collective heart sink that we never want to feel.
But even when talking about less severe injuries, like ankle sprains or, in my daughter’s most recent case, bone bruises, it can still feel like a really big deal. Missing tryouts, missing the beginning of her high school volleyball season, and being unable to play during a tournament in Hawaii – doesn’t feel great. And if I can be real here, it’s not just the missed time; it’s also all the $$$. The MRI, the PT, the recovery treatment, and the new ankle inserts and wraps. Back in my day, time would have healed all. I would have done nothing but ice and get off it. But today, everything feels so pressure-packed and pressed for time to return. New technology allows us to do more, see more, and recover more. It’s hard to do nothing.
Youth sports injuries have become so prevalent, the latest statistics estimate 3.5 million per year* – so, chances are, you may face a similar situation. There is now a new youth sports insurance called pomi, an acronym for Peace of Mind Insurance, to help cover medical and dental costs if your child gets injured playing sports. For as low as $25, pomi can help pay for those additional costs that your primary health insurance doesn’t cover. It’s an extra layer of protection for when injury strikes and can help prevent financial stress on top of the stress of worrying about your child and their future.
If you find yourself in this situation, with an injured child, giving injuries the proper time to heal is always the best way to go if you can. So, we wait. And we try to keep them in a positive mindset. And in a few days, weeks, or months, it will barely be part of her story or memory. It’s not about the short-term play in youth sports. It’s always about the big picture. And injuries certainly help me to remember this.