Every athlete has experienced the pain and frustration of competition—including getting hurt. Sometimes injuries are inevitable, but what should you do after you get injured?
Some coaches, teammates and even parents have a tendency to encourage athletes to play hurt. But doing so can potentially exacerbate a severe injury. Although many consider it an admirable sign of toughness, it can actually put you at a huge risk, and result in even more time on the DL.
When you sustain an injury, immediately inform a coach or team trainer. They can advise you on the level of severity. If it's anything more than an uncomfortable bump or bruise, stop playing and seek additional treatment.
If you unfortunately sustain an injury that needs medical attention, the most important thing is to follow your doctor's instructions. Athletes tend to focus too heavily on returning to the field as soon as possible, regardless of medical recommendations. Although getting back on the field is your number one priority, being patient, following the doctor's instructions, and doing the hard work necessary for your therapy will result in a faster, more successful return to competition.
For less serious ailments, such as common bumps and bruises or soreness, athletes should follow the guidelines for icing and heating. They will help reduce swelling and alleviate pain so your performance isn't negatively affected.