The Crash #3 The aftermath
We crashed? What next?
Part three deals with the aftermath and how we come to deal with the emotional and physical consequences of recovering from an accident on our bike.
We all deal with these fears and emotions differently. Some are reluctant to get back out there and push the pedals in anger in a race environment. Some just can’t wait to get back out there, and some force themselves out there hoping that faking it until they make it will work. Whatever the path you take, remember that it’s yours.
At the end of the day, enjoying the sport we choose to do is critical. Even when it’s tough, even when everything hurts, it should still be, ultimately, because you enjoy it, because you get a sense of achievement, or satisfaction or freedom or because it gives you balance or relieves stress, because at the end of the day it makes you happy.
If what you love doing hurts you and or breaks you, don’t forget to look after the mind as well as the body. Some common tips that are worth remembering to help work through the aftermath of crashing are;
- It’s okay to grieve. Take time to acknowledge your injury, to feel the emotions that can come with this. It’s normal to feel sad, angry and hopeless following an accident. Talk with someone you trust about how you are feeling, express your grief. You have to give yourself time to feel bad, but you don’t want to stay in a negative space. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need.
- Lean on others. Dealing with any injury will alter your day to day structure. Chances are you will need some help to do the things you normally do easily. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to ask. Your family and friends want to help, but may not know how. Try not to push them away. It’s okay to depend on people.
- Don’t isolate yourself. After an injury, the tendency can be to withdraw socially and emotionally. If you are able, try and stay connected, go to a race and cheer from the sidelines or volunteer at an event, stay involved. Shutting yourself off can increase the feelings of despair and loneliness.
- Listen to your body. One important aspect of healing is to pay attention to your body and notice the difference between pain and discomfort. While healing, it’s helpful to do as much as you safely can without further injuring yourself. The body uses energy when healing, so feeling tired is normal. Healing requires a balance of rest, movement and good nutrition. Sleep more, eat healthy and move when you are able.
- Celebrate the small successes. Healing – physically and emotionally, comes in waves. You may make great progress one day, and yet feel like you are going backwards the next. This is normal. Set-backs are part of the healing process. Keep your attention on the small steps forward and the successes you notice. Share your successes with your support team.
We wish to express our appreciation and thanks to Shannon Arnott for taking the time to put these three articles together. And many thanks to Davie and Janice Graham, spectacularly positive people that have been a delight to work with over the past two years.
We hope that this series has gone some way to explaining the circumstances, emotions and the impact of injury following a crash. We hope this has helped other people not featured here in their process of understanding the risk and consequences and enabling them to make a decision about their cycling future.
Crashing is an unfortunate reality and risk we carry when riding our bike and the risk is exacerbated when we race in a competitive environment. Hall Cycle Training and Niche Women’s Training take all necessary precautions in our group training environment ensuring our coaches are accredited and qualified with first aid. We train the majority in Kings Park which is void of large volumes of traffic and make changes to group training dependent on weather and lighting.
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