Getting an injury comes with the nature of being an athlete. Injuries not only affect you physically, but also mentally. It is hard staying positive throughout the recovery process, but if you do, the outcome makes all of the pain worth it. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with some of Florida’s star athletes about how they maintain a positive mindset throughout an injury and how they motivate themselves throughout the rehab process. Come take a look into the mind of an injured athlete.
How do you stay positive during an injury?
It is very hard to stay positive because no athlete wants to be sitting on the side watching practice and not being able to participate. In order to stay positive, you have to appreciate the little steps in coming back. When I hurt both ankles, the only thing I wanted to do was be in the gym, but there was no way I could do that considering I was in a wheelchair. It is important to surround yourself with positive people who will support you throughout the process.
What advice would you give to someone who is going through an injury and wants to give up?
I have been that person that wanted to give up. I would say to that person, “You have worked way too hard and spent way too much time trying to be the best you can be, and it’s not worth giving up, no matter how big or small your injury is.” Also, do not dwell on the fact that you are injured. There are other important things going on in your life other than athletics. You will get back—it may not be as fast as you would like, but you will get back.
How do your teammates/coaches support you through your recovery process?
Being in college my teammates were my roommates, my best friends and the people I saw everyday. They supported me throughout process by keeping me positive, and appreciating the little milestones I was making as well. It was helpful that they were always happy and energetic around me. It lifted my mood!
Do you have to earn your position again?
Yes, because I had been out for so long, other girls were in better shape mentally, physically and gymnastically. I had a lot of catching up to do to get to the point where the girls on my team were. I never think that my spot in line up is permanent and it never will be. It is something that is earned through the trust of your teammates and coaches.
What was the rehab like?
It was very frustrating and painful, but very rewarding in the end. Rehab is never-ending and it is not an easy process. You are always pushing your body to do things that it is not ready for. The rehab process for my ankles lasted a year and a half before I was completely back.
Mackenzie Caquatto tore ligaments in both of her ankles during the 2010 World Selection Camp. She had to get ankle surgery in both ankles and at one point walked around campus in two supportive boots. She pushed herself to get back and in 2013 had the best gymnastics season of her college career thus far. She scored a perfect 10 on bars, received multiple All-America honors, and helped lead her team to win the 2013 NCAA National Championship—the first in Florida’s history.