As the Head Team Physician for the U.S. Ski Team for the past 20 years, I've worked with some of the top athletes in the world.
In a sport like women's alpine skiing, the top competitors go hard and slow down for nobody. And with all that hard charging, our athletes are bound to get injured sometimes!
But it's not just skiing. Women in all sports push hard, putting their bodies on the line while questing for greatness. From soccer to basketball to volleyball and beyond, the risk for injury is always there for female athletes.
From Top Athletes to Weekend Warriors
I've said it before but it bears repeating: female athletes suffer a higher rate of knee injuries than their male counterparts.
It's just a fact that our top female athletes (not just skiers) have to deal with. Considering this, you can see why I've been so busy for the past twenty years.
But top athletes aren't the only people who get injured. In fact, sometimes our young amateur athletes are at even greater risk.
Luckily, if there is an injury, we have all the necessary tools to fix it and get our young athletes back on the field. You might say I do my job, and now it's the athlete to do theirs! So what are some of the traits that make for a successful recovery? Let's take a look.
Top Traits of Successful Female Athletes
A byproduct of helping top athletes is seeing the traits they embrace on the way to the top. These are the same traits that help them battle back from injuries.
If you want to follow in their footsteps and become a top athlete or merely fight your way back from an injury, you'd be wise to try to emulate these traits.
1. Mental Toughness
One thing that separates the "greats" from the rest of the pack is mental toughness-- to get to the top, and then stay there. Despite all the distractions.
It's fascinating to watch these ultra-competitive athletes when they face a major injury. At that point, they need to step it up not only from a physical standpoint, but from a mental standpoint as well.
It's perfectly fine to feel disappointed or even down about your injury. But the true greats see the injury not as a hindrance, but an opportunity. And the best of the best rise up to face the challenge, head on.
2. Physical Dedication
It takes massive commitment and dedication to excel at the highest levels. To say that these ladies train hard is an understatement.
Check out the social media feeds of the top ski racers. You'll see them pumping iron nonstop to gain the slight edge they need to beat the competition.
Putting that type of work in every day also means that they also have to be committed to taking care of their bodies. Some people have trouble walking past a cookie without eating it.
These ladies, on the other hand, have to have an intense amount of self-discipline when it comes to doing anything that might cost them that extra half second on the course.
From healthy eating and sleeping keeping a balanced schedule, they know that overall health is another key to excellence.
Ski racing, for example, is not for weekend warriors. We've all seen athletes in other sports who had enough talent to be pretty good without putting in too much work. In some sports, you can cruise by on talent alone.
Not so with the top female ski racers! There's too little time separating a podium finish from a bottom finish. Even among national teammates, there is always somebody hungry to take your spot on the team.
The point: you need to keep your focus, even when things get tough.
That's why our biggest winners are the athletes who set goals. When they go through injuries or adversity, they keep the end goals in mind.
Then, they go out and achieve them.
3. Creating Fuel for the Fire
It takes talent, dedication, and hard work to excel at any sport. But what happens when you face adversity? What happens when you get injured and you must take a break from the sport you love?
The top athletes use adversity as fuel for the fire.
Not only do the top female athletes bounce back from injuries, but they come back stronger than ever. And did you know that some of the top racers (men and women) have had their greatest successes after having a major knee injury? You can do it, too!
If you are facing your own injury, use it as an opportunity to strengthen your focus and resolve. It's not a fun thing to go through. But can come out on top of your game if you keep a positive attitude and go about your recovery with tenacity and willpower.
See you out there!
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