Returning from Injury — Goal Setting

28 April 2014
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Returning from Injury — Goal Setting

One recurring theme we’ve discussed in this space over the last six months has been the steps and strategies around returning from injury as quickly as possible. The statistics on high school injuries are staggering. It’s estimated that 2 million injuries occur each year across the United States. That’s a lot of injuries. When an athlete’s injured, the road back to competition can be long and difficult.

To help navigate these issues, we’ve offered some principles and tools for injured athletes to follow. For starters, education plays an important role. Do you understand your injury? Do you know how it happened? Do you have a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Social support is another pillar in injury recovery. Are you staying involved with your team? Are you maintaining a role in team activities? And psychological training also matters. Have you been using imagery to envision a mastered technique?


In addition to these principles, we add a fourth concept: goal setting.

Injury recovery can often be a lengthy ordeal. It often can feel like months without significant change or movement toward a return to play. Here’s where the value of goal setting can gain traction. Creating goals with your physical therapist will give you a direction to work toward and a more purposeful rehab program.

Making Sense

Goal setting works. Humans, in fact, have a unique ability to envision a future state and work toward the realization of that state. A recent study showed that the 3% of Harvard MBAs who had clearly written goals earned ten times as much as the other 97% of Harvard MBAs. Even more, people who have written down clear and specific goals have over an 80% success rate at achieving them.

So when it comes to recovering from an injury, goal setting creates a real, tangible path toward achievement. Goal setting is more than checking off a box on your long road to recovery. It, in some ways, creates your reality, acting as a beacon that directs you to accomplishment.

When you’re stuck in the doldrums of a long injury recovery, those goals are your buoys. Along with education, social support, and psychological skill training, goal setting functions as a critical aspect in returning from injury. Jump back in the game quickly by mapping out the steps it takes to get there!