When you think of an athlete, you probably think of someone who puts his or her body to the test on a regular basis. This type of stress on a human body often results in an injury of some type.
Injuries can range from a pulled muscle to chronic issues with a knee, elbow, shoulder, or other joint. Regardless of the type of injury, it is essential that the athlete and the injury be rehabilitated. The benefits of a good rehabilitation program is known to athletes and those with careers in physical therapy.
Once a doctor has evaluated the injury, the patient may be referred to a physical therapist for rehabilitation. This is not only essential for the rebuilding and maintenance of the muscles in the injured area, but it actually assists with the healing by increasing blood flow to the area.
A less obvious side effect of an athletic injury is a loss of self-confidence. Physical therapy can also help an athlete mentally prepare to return to the game. There is actually more to overcome mentally than physically, in most cases. Once an athlete is injured, he or she no longer feels whole and realizes the body’s vulnerability. There is an inherent fear of re-injury, anxiety, concern about decline in performance, and stress from the thought of “re-entering the game.” Rehabilitation must focus on the whole person to restore an athlete to his or her pre-injury strength—both in body and in mind.