Letter to Parents of an Injured Student-Athlete

By Porsha Jones, MS, LMFT

Did you know that according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control high school students account for an estimated 2 million injuries each year?

After an injury, your son or daughter you may feel very alone and alienated.  After the panic and relief that your child is “OK” wears off, the disbelief and disappointment starts to set in.

Does this sound familiar?

Depending on the injury, you may begin to wonder how your child’s ability to play will be impacted in the future. You may have feelings of helplessness because you can’t “fix” the situation.   

All of these feelings and frustrations are very normal but may cause significant emotional distress without proper care.

This difficult experience can be managed by a variety of the following coping skills.

  • PRACTICE SELF-CARE – During this time you will be exerting much more time and energy taking physical care of your student-athlete. Plan short moments away to get a massage, go for a walk, talk to friends or have a night out for dinner.
  • EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS – Although frustrating feelings are very normal, be careful what you express around your student-athlete. Your job right now should be his/her “cheerleader” and rooting them on through their recovery.  Expressing positive emotions and encouragement will be extremely important to your child’s emotional well-being.  Be open to expressing more difficult emotions to friends, family members or a therapist in a safe environment.
  • GATHER MEDICAL INFORMATION – Educate yourself on your student-athlete’s injury. Ask questions to the treating physicians, physical therapists and get a second opinion if needed.  This will help minimize the uncertainty of your child’s future ability to resume their sport.
  • LISTEN to your student-athlete’s concerns and feelings through their healing process. Don’t try to “fix” it, just listen without interruption and validate their changing emotions.  Monitor variations in your child’s mood that may indicate a psychological concern and contact a counselor if needed.
  • STAY ENGAGED with your student-athlete’s sports program. Continue to support the team by fundraising and attending games.  Allow team parents to support and care for you as well.


About the Author

Porsha Jones, MS, LMFT

Porsha is on the Board of Advisers for the Professional Sports Wives Association, and specializes in working with pro athletes and their families.

Porsha specializes in working with individuals, couples and families experiencing anxiety, grief, depression, major conflict, infidelity, divorce, parenting, career counseling, interracial relationship and blended families.


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