We all struggle to know that to say or do for someone who is injured don’t we? So we often just simply avoid them and hope quietly that we will see them back at the Club or in the training group really soon.
So I thought that I would write a note on 8 great things to give to an injured athlete (beyond a card and a bunch of flowers!) to help them:
- COMPANY – whether you go and visit them, or invite them to a meal or drink or something that they can do, this is a game-changer! The most crushing part of injury is that suddenly everything stops and the loneliness can be overwhelming. And interestingly, there is evidence that social inclusion can actually reduce the amount of physical pain experienced! (If you are interested in the science of this, check out the site retrainpain.org and the section on relationships at the bottom of the page)
- REGULAR CONTACT – when someone is out for a long time, a regular call, text or message asking genuinely how they are and listening without getting disheartened if it is not good news, or noticing and celebrating progress with them, is a lifeline. It is just a couple of minutes in your day, but may be the only inter-personal contact in their day.
- NO MORE ADVICE OR STORIES OF FRIENDS WITH THE SAME AILMENT! – the injured athlete will be getting a ton of advice (and sometimes conflicting and confusing advice) from the various medical parties involved in their treatment. Plus they will be spending every waking moment of the day and sleepless nights, searching the internet, YouTube and social media for advice and experiences. Adding more can feel overwhelming, and can create a sense of frustration or embarrassment about talking with you again. A kind and supportive listening ear is so much more valuable.
- SOMETHING TO DISTRACT THEM – a book, a podcast link, a colouring book and pens, magazines. Suddenly the injured athlete will have a ton of time on their hands and an inability to move much, so these are great!
- ESSENTIAL OILS/CANDLES AND BATH SALTS – if all they can do is lie flat, essential oil burners and candles can be really nice and calming. And if they are well enough to get into the bath, then nurturing salts etc can be great. A lot of athletes have always run through the shower in the shortest possible time, trying to get onto the next thing – so getting them something that encourages them to slow down is great! And for many muscular issues the mineral salts that are absorbed through the skin are helpful additions to the minerals in the diet.
- A MEAL – when you are injured, preparing a meal can be so hard. So a pie or a pot dish that someone brings round is such a support (and avoids all of that worry about weight-gain associated with eating too many chocolates or cake or alcohol when you cannot do any exercise).
- A TRAY WITH A CUSHION TO EAT MEALS ON YOUR LAP – when getting out of bed or getting to the table to eat are just too challenging, this is so useful! Together with enough of the right shaped cushions to be able to get into a comfortable position.
- A WHEAT-BAG OR HOT WATER BOTTLE OR REFRESSABLE ICE PACK – depending on whether their injury responds best to heat or cold, having these to hand is such a help (and often medical professionals do not mention them).