Ways to Make ACL Recovery Smoother
The journey back from an ACL injury for an athlete can be long and mentally draining. For a couple of months, an athlete will be sidelined and won’t be able to participate in their sport. It’ll seem like most of their world is shutdown and life is a little dark at the moment but I promise there’s light at the end of the tunnel. While athletes can’t work on their sport skills or play in games, there are things athletes can do that can benefit them in the long run. Through this blog I’ll go over ideas and concepts that can make the rehab process more than just getting back to health but perform better in their sport than before their injury.
Control What You Can Control
The biggest lesson an ACL injury or any major injury can teach an athlete is understanding the idea that we can only control what’s in our control. It sounds straight-forward but in reality; a lot of people lose track of this idea and get upset thinking they’re not falling behind in rehab. There are always going to be ups and down regarding rehabbing injuries and athletes need to roll with the punches and do the best they can. If an athlete is supposed to be in physical therapy 2 or 3 times a week, he or she should be there getting their exercises done. Even if they’re not healing as fast as they would like, athletes need to keep showing up and completing everything in their control to make progress.
With this in mind, all the small things added up make the biggest difference. It’s the small details that are often taken for granted that athletes have complete control over that can make the world of the difference such as cleaning up their diets, making sure they’re getting enough sleep, and trying their best to see the positive in whatever spot they are in the rehab process.
Study Your Sport
There’s a giant difference in watching sports and actually studying them. Yes, I want athletes to enjoy their sport and love watching it but there’s a reason why top athletes study their respected sports. And I’m not talking about just going on social media to look up highlights.
A good starting point to for an athlete to study a sport is for them to find a top athlete that plays their position. An athlete should then look up games of the athlete, live or previously recorded, and focus just on the athlete. An example of this could be a winger in soccer watching Mohamed Salah, one of the best players currently in the world. Instead of watching his games and just enjoying his brilliance on the pitch, watch and analyze his movement on and off the ball. What is he doing when the ball isn’t at his feet? Think about why he did certain movements in the game and how it brought him success. An athlete will never be exactly Salah but implementing concepts from his game will always be beneficial.
Surround Yourself with the Right People
It can be daunting to go through the journey of recovery alone. There will be days where an athlete is tired of doing their rehab exercises and even question if all the small steps of getting back to health is worth it. In these moments is where a strong supporting cast is so important and needed. From your family and friends, to your actual physical therapist and strength coach, a strong support group can make the process so much smoother.
If an athlete is looking for the best spot to have the right supporting cast I would not hesitate to recommend us here at Olympia Fitness and Performance. We’re a unique facility in Rhode Island that offers athletes the ability to work with not only strength coaches but also physical therapists located right inside our gym based out of Restore Physical Therapy. In fact both businesses have worked together to form a specific ACL program that has athletes transition from therapy to strength training. Too often athletes get out of physical therapy and jump back into their sport without truly getting strong enough to be more resilient from injury and cleaning up the movement patterns that got them injured in the first place. Get in contact us by email or phone so we can help you along your journey and build a strong relationship in the process.
Injuries, especially ones to the ACL, can be demoralizing. They often take the athlete out of what they love to do for a period of time and it’s can be difficult to see a silver lining. Although it can hard to see anything positive during this time, there are still aspects of life that an athlete can control. From accepting they can only controls what in their power, studying their sport and learning, and surrounding themselves with the right group of people will make the journey back from any injury much less stressful and make the athlete better than they were before their injury.
Brandon Brelsford is one of the trainers at Olympia Fitness and Performance. He graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.S. in Community Health and Wellness with a concentration in Wellness and Movement Studies. After graduating, Brandon obtained his CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) from the NSCA. Brandon enjoys helping his clients realize what they’re truly capable of and enjoys seeing their growth in and out of the gym.