Unseen Scars: The Struggles of an Injured Athlete


Alex Elias

Injuries in high school sports are all too common, but the mental health issues that injured athletes face are often overlooked.

Will Margolis, a B-CC student-athlete who recently missed six months due to a knee injury, commented, “It really hurts to be on the sidelines watching your teammates compete, but you can’t help them.”

Such loss and helplessness are not the only emotions that injured athletes struggle with; many also feel alone or isolated when they miss practices, games, and other team events.

“Playing sports and being on a team is a very big part of my life,” expressed B-CC junior Nate Bromberger. “And not being able to play made me feel anxious and alone.” Seeing as many athletes often define themselves by their sport, an injury may lead them to feel they have lost a part of themselves.

There is even a level of anxiety that athletes face as they return to their sport after an injury and worry about re-injuring themselves, which leads them to avoid pushing themselves to their limits for fear of causing further stress to their bodies.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “​​These psychological responses are generally greatest immediately after sports injury and lessen during the rehabilitation process. However, they often rebound prior to return to sports, consistent with a ‘U pattern of recovery.’ If unaddressed and unresolved, these elevated psychological responses to the injury can slow rehabilitation progress and delay return to sports.”

Injuries are a part of sports and will continue to happen, but with support and understanding, high school athletes can overcome the mental pain that comes with them.