Sports Injuries! At What Cost?

Blog by: M N Viswanath.

Edited by: Suryakant Tripathi.

India’s cricket captain Virat Kohli reportedly earns a whopping Rs 5 crores per day from all earnings-playing cricket, endorsing various products and as a brand ambassador. He is the highest paid cricketer in the IPL -10 edition with a contract of Rs 15 crores with his franchise-RCB. But now, he has to miss the early part of the IPL-10 edition beginning April 5th 2017 as a result of an injury to his shoulder.

Rohit Sharma has returned to active cricket after a 5 month lay- off due to thigh injury. K.L.Rahul, R.Ashwin, Murali Vijay are set to miss the IPL- 10 edition- all due to injury. Ravindra jadeja and Umesh yadav will also miss the early part of IPL-10 for the same reason. Injury to his wrist has bothered Rafael Nadal for the last three years – Roger Federer & Saina Nehwal have returned to their playing days after going under the knife. Yuki Bhambri and Denis Istomin have been ruled out of the Davis cup tie between India and Uzbekistan due to injuries. Injuries are an inevitable part of an athlete’s career with sport being intensely professional these days. Injuries have nipped many a promising career in the bud or brought more than one career in to a grinding halt with their re-occurrence.

Though physical factors may be the main cause of injuries-psychological factors may also play a role leading to injuries:-

  1. When an athlete is under state-anxiety he feels threatened by the situation – muscle tension occurs: leading to injuries.
  2. Due to lapses of concentration-collusions or accidents may happen: leading to injuries.
  3. Life stressors (stressful life events, relationships, family, illness, lack of emotional support from the support givers etc.) may also result in injuries due to low moods & feelings+ absence of mind and attention.
  4. Chances of recurrence of injury: by feeling anxious of the recurrence during play due to fear and insecurity.
  5. Over excitement and negative emotions like anger and aggression may also be a reason for injuries during the critical moments of play.

Psychological distress post injury-

When an athlete is laid-low by a serious injury he is not only injured physically he is psychologically injured as well. He/she may be plagued by psychological stress due to injury in the following ways:-

  1. The athlete has feelings of the fear of re-injury, feelings of dreams getting shattered, future insecurity & career concerns.
  2. There are emotional responses like- anger, sadness, frustration, depression, agitation, fear & anxiety with too much of self-consciousness (especially during play)
  3. Other feelings like lowering of confidence, denial of the injury, dis-belief, and self-pity may torment the athlete.
  4. Fear of performance decrements and loss of identity on return to competition, may haunt the player.
  5. Fear of regaining the original physical condition on return- because when there is a long lay- off from the game the important muscles lose their strength. It is huge challenge to get them working like before.

The care givers [coaches, parents, physical conditioning experts, physio therapists, psychologists] can support the athlete in many ways:- By showing empathy, by instilling confidence, by being positive, by not talking about re-occurrence too frequently, fostering social support, by re-enforcing self-worth in the person etc.

Psychotherapy and counselling have been known to play a positive role in the rehabilitation process. A sports psychologist can help in this process.

M N Viswanath, author of Success Mantra In Sports and sports performance coach, he can be reached at