Psyche of the Injured Athlete: the Unspoken Truths presents an intimate look at what happens to athletes who suffer a debilitating, sport career-ending injury. The athlete's identity, the sports family, the daily discipline and work to become an elite athlete are all gone. The psyche of the athlete is damaged, and there is little in place to help them find healing and wholeness.
The author, Dr. Laura Miele, PhD, describes her own journey as an elite basketball player who suffered a back injury that ended her promising career and left her on the sidelines. She shares the utter devastation, the consultations with numerous medical professionals searching for a way to rehabilitate and continue to play, and the realization that she needed to move on from her dream. She is an expert in fitness, sports and recreation with a PhD in Sports Psychology, and she brings her understanding of athletic identity, sports injury rehabilitation, and career-ending injury to bear on the lack of mental health resources available to injured athletes and to those who care for them.
This book is intended to help coaches, parents, medical practitioners, and the injured athletes themselves acknowledge the need for the body, mind and spirit all to be considered when evaluating the health and wellbeing of the injured athlete.
The seven comprehensive chapters cover Miele's story, the role of sport in the identity of elite athletes, the loneliness and despair of an injured, depressed athlete, and finally her detailed solutions to help the injured athlete cope with and move beyond their injury, to transition out of sports and into a successful career and life. The insights from coaches and athletes sprinkled throughout the book corroborate and expand on the topics of athletics, injury, loss and recovery. Dr. Miele notes that athletes have everything they need to heal and move on if they are given the appropriate support. They are disciplined, they know how to work hard, and they are team players. With the right mental health resources and guidance, they can integrate their love of their sport into their life and come back strong.
Whether you are a parent, coach, doctor or athlete, this book is a must read. Better analysis and treatment are critical to the mental health of elite athletes, and you owe it to yourself or the athlete you care for to better understand the psyche of the injured athlete.