5 Ways Coaches Can Help Injured Players on Their Road to Recovery - by Sarah Daren

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

Sarah Daren
Sarah Daren

As a coach, it's never a good feeling when you see your players hurt. This is especially true when players are seriously injured and the road to recovery is long.

Geno Auriemma with injured player

Thankfully, there are some effective ways you can support your players and aid them in the healing process. Being aware of some key tips in this area can make it easier to get players back to playing at their peak potential.

Here are five ways coaches can help injured players on their road to recovery.

#1: Enlist the Help of a Travel Nurse

Though many aren't aware, some nurses are specially trained to perform their roles in different locations throughout their careers. This means they typically bounce around from place to place and rarely stay in one area for more than a couple of weeks.

If you have a player on the mend that can benefit from consistent medical assistance, hiring a travel nurse to travel with your team could be an effective solution. By having a trained nurse available for players with more severe injuries, you can ensure that your injured players are getting the care they need while you still have time to coach the entire team.

travel nurse

#2: Be Present When Injured Players are Discharged from the Hospital

While coaching likely keeps you incredibly busy, being there when your players are discharged from the hospital can be incredibly beneficial. Firstly, this offers you an opportunity to thoroughly read hospital discharge planning papers with the player's parents. As such, you'll have a better idea of what type of care this player needs throughout their road to recovery.

In addition, being there for a player's discharge can also be a great show of moral support. This can help you build a deeper sense of trust with your injured players and make them more open to your guidance and advice.

#3: Help Players Build Mental Resilience

Players dealing with injuries often experience physical pain as a result of their injuries. However, the inability to play can also cause intense feelings of mental anguish such as stress, anxiety, and even depression.

To ensure that your injured players aren't overwhelmed by these types of experiences, it's key to help them build mental resilience. This can be done in many ways, such as helping them to start a meditation practice or encouraging them to speak about their emotions. The more mentally resilient you help players become, the better their healing experience will be.

#4: Encourage Players to Set Realistic Goals

Oftentimes, when players are hit with an unexpected injury, they're eager to get back into the game as quickly as possible. As a result, many injured players create lofty goals that involve quick recoveries. Unfortunately, these lofty goals can cause players to have unrealistic expectations and, as a result, experience extreme disappointment when they aren't met.

To avoid this, it's important to help players set realistic goals for their healing journey. The more realistic you're able to make your players' healing goals, the smoother their road to recovery will be.

#5: Make Sure Injured Players Still Feel Like They're Part of the Team

One of the hardest aspects of being injured as an athlete is the feeling of isolation and being left out. This is especially true when players don't feel like they're still part of the team. As a coach, you can lessen the burden on your injured players by going out of your way to show them that they're still just as much a part of the team as they were before.

To be truly effective, it's important to get the rest of the team on board with your mission. The more they treat injured players like teammates, the more injured players will feel included. In addition, it can also help to ask injured players their thoughts on various aspects of games, such as strategy and the performance of other players. The more you engage in these forms of inclusion, the better your injured players will feel as they heal from their injuries.

You Can Help Injured Players Shine

While it's never easy being injured as a player, you as a coach have the power to ease and improve their road to recovery. From enlisting the help of a travel nurse to helping players build mental resilience, you have many opportunities to be a force of positivity in your injured players' lives. As such, you must go out of your way to help your players heal in any way you can.

Articles by Sarah Daren