Children embracing after race

Mar 07, 2016 / Sports Medicine

Bouncing Back: Helping a Young Athlete Cope with an Injury or Surgery

Young athletes are tough, but an injury or upcoming surgery can cause even the most levelheaded athlete to stress.

At Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, we are fortunate to have a psychologist, trained in sport psychology, on our team. Erica Force, Ph.D., tells us that some patients may be more likely to have problems coping with their injury than others.

Athletes are more at risk of having problems coping with injury or surgery, when they:

  • Are at a pivotal point in their sports career or season.
  • Must spend an extended time out of sports.
  • Are already experiencing a particular stress, for instance, divorcing parents or academic struggles.
  • Have difficulty coping with stress.
  • Are advised to change sports completely.

Athletes are more likely to cope well when they:

  • Have good social support with a well-balanced social life, which includes activities and friends outside of sports.
  • Have coaches and caregivers who are supportive and encouraging.
  • Stay connected with his or her team throughout recovery.

Dr. Force says, “Parents can influence children long before an injury occurs by being good role models for handling stress and being resilient. When parents demonstrate healthy coping skills and a well-balanced social life, there is a good chance their children will pick up on these behaviors and apply them to their own lives.”

Erica Force, Ph.D., is available during our regular clinic hours to consult with our patients. Parents can request to meet with Dr. Force to help develop a plan that is best for each child. Learn more about Psychology and Sports Medicine at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.


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