If you google: “athletes pushing through painful injuries” the first five links to pop up are to “inspiring stories of athletes who played despite injury.” Most of them game ending injuries that would have kept “regular” athletes from playing.
- Curt Schilling who played game 6 of the 2004 ALCS on a bloodied ankle that was still recovering from surgery before the game.
- Rams player, Jack Youngblood, who broke his leg during the second quarter of a 1979 playoffs game ended up finishing the game and the season.
- And Shun Fujimoto, a Japanese Olympic Athlete, won the gymnastics gold medal in 1976 after busting his kneecap.
It’s impossible to walk into any sport without hearing about athletes who pushed through pain and injury to do amazing things. This may be the cause, though, of a mindset among any and all athletes that “the pain isn’t that bad” which typically leads to overtraining, overuse injuries, and regular injuries.
The situation has become such a problem that studies have cropped up regarding the propensity of youth sports to lead to an abundance of overtraining, burnout, and injuries. The sports world is ready to show you how to play the game to win, but rarely does it teach how to rest and recover, especially when dealing with injuries.
“Longer exposure to training is one of the main risk factors for injury, and constant exposure to repetitive athletic actions and overload place the integrity of bodily structures at risk. Bergeron et al. reported that extensive high intensity sports training can alter growth rates. Higher training volumes have consistently been shown to increase the risk of overuse injury in multiple sports, and load has been shown to be one of the most important predictors for injury.” (1)
The mindset of pushing through the pain is killing the progress that many lower level athletes are trying to achieve. So how do you answer the problems of overtraining, injuries, and burnout?