The Injured Athletes Club
Summary: We’re sorry you’re here, but we’re glad you’re here, too! If you’re lucky enough to call yourself an athlete, chances are you’ve been injured. One of the biggest challenges of injury is facing recovery alone. Now, you don’t have to. Mental skills coach Carrie Jackson Cheadle and journalist Cindy Kuzma interview athletes, researchers, clinicians, and others in the field about how to cope with sports injuries and the mental side of the rehab and recovery process. And, Carrie shares some of the mental skills and drills she teaches injured athletes—tools you can use to stay positive and resilient during your recovery. Not only can these strategies help you bounce back stronger from injury, you can use them to rebound from any setback in your sport—or in life. DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational & informational use only and & does not constitute medical advice. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have heard in an episode of this podcast. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with a qualified medical professional for proper evaluation & treatment. Guests who speak on this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions, and The Injured Athletes Club podcast hosts nor any company providing financial support endorses or opposes any particular treatment option discussed in the episodes of this podcast and are not responsible for any actions or inactions of listeners based on the information presented. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk.
We—Carrie and Cindy—also operate a Facebook group that’s also called The Injured Athletes Club. It’s a thriving, positive community of other people who just plain get it. This week, in our final episode of season 3, we asked members for their questions about the psychological and emotional aspects of the journey. Here, Carrie responds to concerns about fears, doubts, and understanding what makes you tick, among other things.
From cancer to health. Back to the hospital with a heart attack—and home with a new heart. And finally, across the country on a bike, twice. Mike Cohen’s life has taken him to places he never could have imagined. In this week’s episode, the San Diego-based athlete—who calls himself a professional cyclist riding for a cause—takes us through some of the highs and lows of his travels.
On most days, British runner Anji Andrews lives the athlete’s dream, working in the running industry in several capacities. But this summer, a foot injury that had begun to develop earlier this year worsened just as the country locked down due to the pandemic. Anji found the constant reminders of what she couldn’t do difficult to bear. In this week’s episode, she talks openly and honestly about the raw emotions of this combination, and how underfueling and overtraining played a role.
Lex Gillette—a world record holder and national champion in the long jump—has had to navigate change before. At age 8, doctors diagnosed him with detached retinas, and couldn’t save his sight despite multiple surgeries. Though the transition wasn’t easy, Lex credits his support system—and the confidence they inspired in him—with getting him through. The same ability to adapt to change has also powered him through injuries and other setbacks.
Your physical being occupies space in the present moment. But often, our thoughts are a million miles away, fretting over the past or fearful of the future: Will I ever run again? What if I hadn’t gone on that last ride or collided with that other player? These thoughts can hook us, leaving us unable to move on. We describe how to catch yourself taking these less-than-productive trips. From there, you can recenter your mind, adapt to the existing reality, and act to create a better future.
Mechelle Lewis Freeman had put everything on the line to achieve her Olympic dream. She’d walked away from a successful career in advertising, moved to a full-time training facility, and calculated everything from the grams of protein she ingested to the positive mantras running through her head. Injury threatened to derail her, but because she’d invested in training her body and also her mind, Mechelle was able to see opportunity in the obstacle—a mindset she maintains as a coach and non-profit leade
Chris Mosier has made history before, as the first transgender athlete to represent the United States in international competition, appear in the ESPN Body Issue, and be sponsored by Nike. In January, he once again blazed a trail at the Olympic Trials for the 50K racewalk, becoming the first transgender athlete to qualify and compete in the Trials in the gender with which they identify. However, injury nearly robbed him of the chance to make it to the starting line. Chris shares more on this episode.
Basketball, ski racing, sprint kayaking, surfing—Alana Nichols’ athletic career has brought her to the highest levels of a wide range of sports. Still, she tells us on this week’s show, as a Paralympian she often struggled to get the same care for her injuries as her able-bodied peers. Alana's advocacy has carried over into her newer roles as president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and mother of baby Gunnar,
The second time Amanda Ferranti tore her ACL, she had a feeling her soccer career was over. Even as she coped with the challenges of recovery and retirement, she was working on another project: a system to help other injured athletes manage their emotions and thrive through, and beyond, their rehab process. In this episode, Amanda—now a soccer coach and certified mental performance consultant at Ferranti Empowerment—outlines the process by which she journaled and planned her way to a successful future.
We first spoke with this week’s guest, pro distance runner Alia Gray, in person during Olympic Marathon Trials weekend in February in Atlanta. She’d chosen not to run the race despite a qualifying time and an injury-free stretch—a choice made from joy rather than fear, she says, and one she describes at length in this episode. We caught up with her again in late April to find out how she was faring since the coronavirus pandemic upended her season.
In slalom water skiing, Matteo Luzzeri says, “you’re playing tug of war against a 6.2-liter engine boat.” Injury—both from overuse and from sudden, traumatic events—comes with the territory. On this week’s episode, Matteo—who's also a Ph.D. in sport psychology—shares the story of his most serious injury, a ruptured Achilles in September 2014. Support and mental skills techniques both helped him come back stronger, he explains.
This podcast—and our book Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries—exist primarily to teach mental skills to sidelined athletes. But we’ve always known these lessons and techniques can transcend injury, and even sports performance. While we never imagined we’d be applying them to a global pandemic, here we are—and both of us, Carrie and Cindy, have been finding the same mental drills we use to bounce back from injury surprisingly relevant. Here's how.
Angie Fifer first enrolled at Penn State with a plan to become an athletic trainer. But during a class in sport psychology, she instantly knew she’d found her calling—to prevent other athletes from having the same experience she had. When she was 16, a serious fall on the uneven bars sent her to the hospital and threatened her future in the sport. Angie shares more about this experience, her transition to endurance sports, and her work helping athletes and others “be their best a little bit more often
After overcoming multiple injuries to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in the nick of time, 5,000-meter runner Jessica O’Connell faced another series of setbacks as she prepared for the Games. Through it all, she's realized adversity strikes everyone—the best (and luckiest) among us are those who can persevere. It’s an attitude that’s served her well throughout her career. She views injuries as disappointing but not devastating, in large part because she now has a plan to deal with them.
Jen A. Miller has been writing about running for The New York Times since 2010. Last year, she sustained a serious setback, a stress fracture in her tibia. In the weekly running newsletter she now writes for the Times, she chronicled her journey, from the anger and frustration at her diagnosis to an emotional comeback, running the New York City Marathon with her mother. On this episode, Jen—the author of the memoir Running: A Love Story—shares her experiences.