Injuries are a part of sports. Whether you play a contact sport, over-train, or just get unlucky, you are bound to get injured throughout your athletic career. You have two issues to worry about when it comes to injuries: how to prevent them, and how to deal with recovering from them. Many people think injuries are completely unavoidable. When they get them, they think they were just unlucky. However, this is not always the case. Many injuries can be prevented if you take precautions. Common causes of athletic injuries include:

Common causes of injuries
Preventative measures
Physical contact
It’s hard avoiding being tackled in football, but there’s ways you can minimize the chances of being injured. You can build up muscle mass to protect your bones. You can run out of bounds, or slide to avoid contact.
Bad Equipment
Better helmets, better shoes, better braces can all help prevent injuries.
Overuse, lack of rest
Too many reps on a daily basis without rest can cause tendonitis and other injuries. Don’t be afraid to take rest days.
Bad technique
Bad technique can overstress certain muscles. Learn more efficient, safer techniques.
Playing through fatigue
Technique gets sloppy when you are tired and your muscles can’t support your bones/joints as well. Take a rest when you are too fatigued.
Tight, inflexible muscles
Stretching on a daily basis can prevent injuries. Also, make sure your body is warmed up before raising effort.
Muscle imbalance
Make sure the right side and left side of your body are equally balanced.
Lack of muscle support
Don’t throw 90 mph if you don’t have the muscle/ligament support to withstand the force. Play within your physical limits or add more muscle.
Explosive movement
Being an explosive athlete like Russell Westbrook is a double edged sword because it increases the chances of injuries. Too much force in the wrong direction can strain ligaments. Explosive athletes sometimes should tone it down to prevent injuries.
Listen to your parents advice and don’t jump over the tennis net. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Think about the potential consequences.

My advice for injury prevention is take the precautions seriously. Daily stretching may not be fun but it’s worth it. It’s like insurance. And always seek help from a professional doctor or athletic trainer. At the same time, don’t become too precautious and risk-averse. As an athlete, you need to also play freely and be willing to take risks. Besides, unless you stay in your bed all day, it’s impossible to completely avoid injuries. Sports can be dangerous, but it’s worth the risk.

Positive attitude during rehab:
Athletes often become discouraged when they have to rehab for weeks or months at a time. However, smart athletes choose to have a more positive attitude. They treat rehab like a sport itself. They set goals to become healthy by a certain date and work their hardest to recover in time. Not only this, but they use this time to focus on other aspects of their game. While injured, you can still study film, eat healthy, practice mental exercises, and help the team as a coach. Some athletes choose to spend more time with their families and take care of their mental health while injured. This is a good decision too, since it helps you come back fresh and rejuvenated once healthy. Remember, every athlete suffers injuries to an extend. Make sure you handle them better than your competition.

Psychology of injury recovery:
Many athletes have trouble returning to action after recovering from an injury. They have trouble playing with peak performance because they fear injuring themselves again. Therapy, imagery, and self-talk can help you get over this fear. You can visualize yourself playing fearlessly. You can reassure yourself by telling yourself the realistic, small probability of re-injuring yourself again in the same spot.

Deciding whether or not to play through an injury:
Every athlete inevitably faces the decision: should I play through an injury or should I take time off to rest? It can be very tempting to play through injuries. Nobody wants to miss playing time. Everyone wants to help their team win. But is playing through injuries worth the risks? You could make your injury even worse, possibly ending your career or cause lifelong health issues. Is one game worth that? This is essentially a debate between thinking emotionally or rationally. Playing in the Super Bowl has a lot of emotional upside. But avoiding long-term health issues may be the more rational decision. There is no right or wrong answer. The decision is up to you, just make sure it is an informed decision. Weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.