by Brian Yalung
Athletes experience injuries, both in actual competition or during training. The severity of injuries differ and the best way is to follow fundamentals like proper stretching, the right body mass index (BMI) and advice from coaches, trainers and medical personnel.
Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has participated in several international competitions although she admits missing out on some meets due to injury.
“My worst was when my knee got injured. It affected my performance and I was not able to compete in major competitions. My self-worth was so low because of my injury,” reveals Hidilyn.
The advances in science and technology have allowed athletes to do the necessary in avoiding and handling injuries. Medical procedures can help address injuries but the mental recovery part is something most struggle with.
Dr Karen Katrina Trinidad is a Sports Psychologist-Consultant and has been with the Sports Psychology Unit of the Philippine Sports Commission for over 10 years now. Aware of the mental issues that some athletes face, she seeks to uphold the commitment in the discovery and utilization of more effective psychological skills. This way, athletes can develop and sustain their performance and be at their best even at critical moments.
“The athlete can always seek a sports psychologist as soon as he/she encounters an injury to help them recover from possible trauma. Coordination with sports doctors and rehab (physical therapist) is always a MUST. Exaggeration or psychosomatic can also happen but can always be checked and verified with the help of sports doctor, physical therapist, strength and conditioning and psychologist,” explains Dr Trinidad when asked by MB Sports Online.
Diaz admits that she was not a believer in sports medicine at first. It was not until she was on the verge of giving up her career that she came to her senses.
“Sports Medicine gave me hope! I always listened to my coach until he was terminated from the national team. I felt so alone. Thankfully, sports medicine (just in Rizal Memorial), gave me hope as I was about to give up and when I felt like a worthless athlete,” said Diaz.
One of the worst injuries she dealt with was during the 2015 World Championships. Diaz was dealing with an injured shoulder and relied on sports therapy sessions to strengthen it.
“Despite the pain, I never gave up because Dra. Karen always told me that it’s part of the process. She was always with me during the time when I wanted to give up. She was always with me during that time when I wanted to give up. Sports Psychology helped me to become mentally tough when preparing and during competitions,” she shared.
For aspiring athletes, Diaz gives some friendly advice:
“To get nervous before a competition is a natural thing. Don’t get pressured and avoid thinking about negative things. Think that you are ready and prepare for it. Do your best and be proud that you become part of it!”