Coach Michele’s Injury Etiquette
Written by Michele Vieux
This could also be titled, Coach Michele’s (aka the most injured coach of all time) DOs and DON’Ts of Being Injured.
I have always been injury-prone and these past five years have been a real doozy. All those years of playing rough and sacrificing my body for the team have come back to bite me in the butt. I’ve had small, large, temporary, permanent, and life-changing injuries during this time and, because of that, I’ve received numerous questions over these years as to how I deal with them. So I’ve compiled my list of injury etiquette for your reference.
Hopefully, you don’t find yourself in my situation but chances are, at some point you may get injured. So now you’ll be prepared with my list of how to properly address your injuries with yourself and others. Take them or leave them. These are just observations from my own, personal experiences.
DO – Get a professional opinion, especially if you’ve been hurting for a while. You need to know what’s going on so you can know what to do to get better.
DON’T – Count on the opinion of your friends, family, and coaches for your diagnosis and don’t be that guy who self-diagnoses via the internet. Unless these people are doctors, they probably aren’t giving you the correct or full story.
DO– Let others know you’re injured. Your friends, family, and coaches need to know if you are injured so they can look out for you, support you, help you make appropriate decisions, and not pressure you into doing something you shouldn’t.
DON’T – Let your injury be the only thing you talk about. People want to support you the best they can but often feel helpless as to how. When you talk about it all the time, it makes them feel even more helpless and less like they want to hang around you. Plus, they all have their own stuff – including injuries – that they are dealing with too.
DO – Stay positive! Give yourself a couple days to mourn your injury, especially if it is a life-changing one. Process it and move on. Find things you ARE able to do and focus your energy there. Trust me, there are more than you think but you must seek them out.
DON’T – Feel sorry for yourself, harp on the injury, and think about it all the time. This will only bring you and everyone around you down. If you remember the Saturday Night Live skit, Debbie Downer doesn’t have any friends and people run the other way when she’s around. Don’t be Debbie (or Danny) Downer. You need your friends during this trying time.
DO – Have life balance – define yourself in many different ways! Try something new. Read more. Pick up playing piano. Dive head first into a new life path or rekindle an old one. There are plenty of options out there to keep you busy.
DON’T – Let yourself be defined by your pre-injury activities. If you are/were an athlete but can no longer compete at your sport, hopefully that isn’t the only thing you see yourself worthy of. We all need better life balance than that! Have a couple items in your bag of tricks.
DO – Stay active! Ask your coach for modifications – that’s what they’re here for. There are plenty of things you can do with the non-injured parts of your body. Doing heavy bench press can actually help your legs stay strong and vice versa.
DON’T – Don’t get discouraged or stop coming to the gym. That is a recipe for disaster for both your physical and emotional well-being.
Like I said, these aren’t the “be all, end all” answers to dealing with injury and everyone is different. These are the things I do to keep myself – and those around me – sane, happy and continually moving. Hopefully you don’t ever need to use these but in case you do, best wishes for a speedy recovery!