Recovery Services, LLC
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a cognitive disorder, which comes about after overcoming a traumatic event. It is a disease, which is extremely common to those participating in a sport at an elite level. When these athletes feel like they have come to the end of their journey as an athlete, and then try and slot themselves back into mainstream society, or after they have had to overcome a large hurdle within their chosen sport. These athletes develop feelings of alienation, depression, flashbacks or hyperarousal, and generally become evident after a couple of months after stopping or after the specific event has concluded.
There is a common sense of confusion between the difference of PTSD and a normal response to trauma. If an athlete injures himself or herself in a horrific way, it is normal for them to go through some adversity before overcoming the injury. They may develop small flashbacks, have bad dreams, or feel like they can't get the traumatic experience out of their mind, however, depending on the athlete’s mental ability, or how determined they are within their chosen sport, these symptoms can be lifted in time. Along with this, those athletes who are weaker mentally are the ones who tend to not be able to recover themselves and fall into the category of PTSD.
There are many therapies which can help reduce ones deterioration of PTSD, some including, psychologist sessions, various medications, art therapy or social engagement etc.
There are many sports which are fairly dangerous and involve threatening activities, especially during competition. There is always the chance of athletes getting injured while competing or during training which is exactly the reason why a psychologist would eventually encounter a patient who is a serious athlete and is in need of their assistance to rehabilitate their PTSD. Psychology as a general occupation has dated back to times of 1878, and around 1897 the first psychologist specialising in sport was established, by the name of Dr. Norman Triplett. Ever since, sport psychologists were helping different athletes, in the mental aspect of their game, in order for them to reach their optimum potential.
PTSD became first evident due to those individuals who suffered extremely horrible experiences from war. Society noticed that those who took part in war, or had family members who took part in war, became distant from themselves and suffered terribly and found it very difficult to cope with the tragedies. Researchers took note of this and aimed to evaluate the situation and come to a conclusion with how to rehabilitate these victims, and while doing this they determined that these people had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Soon after this new found disorder was established it made it far more clearer for those sport psychologists to treat their clients, as prior to the discovery of PTSD, sports psychologists, had to come up with alternative options to rehabilitate their clients who were experiencing PTSD. These psychologists often took their clients to play different sports, completely different from their own in aim to treat them in the most comfortable way possible.
Signs and symptoms
There are many extreme and less extreme symptoms for PTSD, some which need medication to calm them down and others which can be solved in easier ways.
Some of these include:
- The athlete reliving traumatic events, or reliving peeks of their career - these events are relived through memories taking over through strong images within nightmares. these nightmares have such strong effects that they can cause athletes to have many physical and emotional reactions, like sweating, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, snowballing worries, obsessive thinking, compulsive behaviour, panic, or heart palpitations.
- The athlete being more alert or annoyed - as athletes are experiencing these flashbacks, this can cause them to miss vital sleeping hours, which in turn, results in them having a lack of concentration and be irritated. Along with this athletes could also become startled easier and always be on the lookout for signs of danger.
- Avoiding reminders of the event: the athlete, if is encountered with an injury to trigger their PTSD, they involuntary ignore and block off certain reminders of the event. These reminders could be people, activities, feelings associated with the event, or places which remind them of their accident; they do this to ensure no painful memories become stronger.
- The athlete becomes emotionally numb: Once an athlete either retires from their sport or has a major injury, they can develop a lethargic lifestyle and lose interest in day-to-day activities, become cut off and detached from family and friends and become emotionally flat and numb.
Also, alongside these symptoms it is also very common for these specific symptoms to lead to other mental disorder such as depression, alcohol and drug use and anxiety disorders. Once an athlete reaches this stage it is then vital for them to seek assistance if they are not already doing so.]
- The athlete could also suffer from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy too much head trauma from practice and the games just like Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher who killed himself and girlfriend on December 1, 2012
There are many available ways to treat people with PTSD, with most people resulting to psychologists as a preferred option, this is mainly because this is the most comfortable solution. Psychologists offer the option for an individual to open up, in an environment filled with positive vibes in order for them to determine the roots of their issues. There is also the option of art therapy, this was created by a man called Adrian Hill, in 1942 and is one of the earliest forms of treatment. This treatment is very beneficial to those with an open mind, it involves individuals to speak to a psychologist specialising in art, and the two both either paint, sculpt or any other forms of art. Another form of treatment, is treatment through medications; these medications aim to enhance their moments of happiness and reduce their moments of stress and anxiety. Some of these medications include fluoxetine, paroxetine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines and glucocorticoids. Obviously resulting to medications is a last resort, but unfortunately this type of therapy can be the matter of rehabilitating someone, meaning that the don’t have to live with these PTSD symptoms for the remainder of their life which is not a preferred way of life.
There are obviously many other treatment options, with cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing being some of the more popular options, all these involve an individual changing the way they think about their disease and experiences in life.
Loss of identity
An athlete may choose to leave their sport due to many reasons, either due to an injury or due to them reaching an old age. If an athlete becomes injured, this must be looked deeper into, as an injury can vary between very subtle and very dangerous. If the athlete loves their sport, they will sometimes hide the severity of the injury and just wait till it heals slightly in order for them to get playing as soon as possible, which could cause catastrophic injuries later on in their career. This is why injuries need to be looked into, because if the injury is too extreme where the athlete can't physically go back to playing their sport, they may get forced to retire in order for them not to damage themselves at a more extreme level, resulting in the athlete experiencing many different feelings, such as alienation, distress or uselessness.
This is the reason why injuries effect an athlete so much, as if any normal person got an injury they could just work around it, but for an athlete, this causes them to be separated from their sport and could mean a loss of identity is established.Normal, everyday people have skills in all aspects of their life, and have support all around them in everything they do; and as athletes are so focused on their sports, when they break out into everyday life they are less likely to achieve their further meaning in life relating to their career and future life options due to their inability to develop themselves as people in their early lives.
How high one goes in a sport is directly related to how much more depressed you are when you finally leave your sport; some athletes become so depressed that they contemplate suicide.
Tiaina Baul "Junior" Seau Jr
An example an athlete who experienced this is Tiaina Baul "Junior" Seau Jr. Junior Seau was an American NFL player, and is a typical example of an individual with PTSD. He was born on January 19, 1969 and died on May 2, 2012. Seau was a very beneficial asset to the teams that he played for; throughout his career he played for San Diego Chargers from 1990 to 2002, Miami Dolphins from 2003–2005 and New England Patriots from 2006–2009. He played linebacker for all three teams and had extensive experience in this role, despite many injuries throughout his career. After his career at the NFL he developed differences in his personality, due to brain injury; these changes consisted of impaired self-control and regulation, sensitive emotionally and also he was not able to socialise as he once was able to, which then led to alienation, something which was a strong opposite to his original personality. From there he developed insomnia and committed suicide via a self-inflicted gunshot to his heart.
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To whom it may concern,
For thirty seven years many people have asked me, “What’s wrong with you.” For me it was life as usual, but for those same years I’d often wondered the same. “What happened to that care free kid who owned all the same youthful ideals as all his peers?” Like so many souls before I have tried to fill in the voids, the blanks with ideas passed down from loved ones, friends, and clergy and when those encouraging words left me, none the less, empty I turned to drugs and alcohol for the answers that I just didn’t find right. For thirty seven years I battled with depression, anger, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, and feelings of suicide. As a veteran of the U.S. Army I was being treated for mental health at the VA hospital and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) and given a disability rating based upon my service career. It has not diminished the need for counseling and often I battle with some of the fore mentioned conditions but it has given me focus and drive to help others to understand and perhaps gain restitution for a condition that is caused by an abnormal life experience. Fast forwarding, my life has now come to a calling in which I have been blessed to work with former athletes from all genres of sports. I have seen many players in six years of advocating who exhibit the same character traits that burden me. It wasn’t so long ago that I was speaking with an athlete who was a first round draft pick and we discussed his injuries in detail and determined he had a less than stellar case based upon a hand injury but I inquired why he missed an entire year of play. I discovered that because of the mental anguish that burdened him and his young family he walked away from the game and his dreams of the Big League. While talking to him I heard my own story pouring out of this young man’s heart and realized that I of all people missed an important clue, this former player was battling the same PTSD that took me 37 years to have diagnosed. I asked him if he was interested in pursuing a case based upon that criteria and the rest is history. To my knowledge he was the first, former athlete, to come forward and claim PTSD based upon an athletic career and to have a case opened based upon that finding, since, I have helped dozens of former athletes who were called to empty their lockers and left out in the cold to realize their hopes of discovering “what’s wrong.” Although there is no guarantee that a case may be filed on your behalf only discussing it and learning more about it can steer you in the correct direction. I am happy do discuss this opportunity with anyone who feels hopeless or is confused with their inability to deal with Life after sports.
You friend and advocate, Robert Woods email@example.com
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See references at >>>>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-traumatic_stress_disorder_among_athletes
Junior Seau with his fellow Patriots
Note: It is our desire to bring awareness to "PTSD" in the sports arena until such is established, a "PTSD" claim must be filed in conjunction with a sport wear and tear compensation claim in the State of California. Our goal is to gain national awareness in order to establish future transitional help for the younger generation of retired players back to the society.