When kids experience sports injuries severe enough to keep them from playing or participating, they tend to have fairly dramatic reactions, said Dr. Jorge Gomez, Pediatric Sports Medicine Physician at Texas Children’s Hospital in a podcast interview.
He stressed that communicating with your sports children is essential to overcoming any mental effects of injury.
Allowing your sports kids space to talk about their feelings will expedite the healing process and make them feel more supported, he says.
“One of the things I tell parents is children need structure. So I encourage parents to keep doing what they have been doing, stick to their routine because children derive a lot of comfort from these things.”
Meanwhile, kids need to focus on the process and understand that healing takes time.
Often, injured kids will get excited about playing again, only to be disappointed that their performance does not match the prior performance level.
“This is natural, and as a sports parent, your job is to temper these overheated expectations,” he said.
While injured athletes are recovering, they should practice mental game strategies, he suggested.
“This is a great way to spend some of your time while recovering – work on relaxation techniques and positive imagery techniques.”
He also stressed working on building up physical strength in areas the athletes hadn’t previously focused on.
“Look at things you weren’t working on. If you’ve got a leg injury, work on your flexibility and upper body strength,” he said.
Feeling stronger both mentally and physically will help boost kids’ confidence when it’s time to start playing or performing again.