Dr. Brian Cole and Steve Kashul talk with Spencer O’Brien about the challenges professional athletes face during competition while managing rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that has a severe impact on the joints and can affect other parts of the body as well due to severe swelling. For a professional athlete a diagnosis like this can be physically and emotionally devastating. For O’Brien it was finally an answer to why her body was failing her. She experienced low points, but like a great athlete she persevered, rebuilt herself and triumphed against the odds.
SNOWBOARDING — TARGETING BEIJING 2022
2018 Olympian – Slopestyle and Big Air
2016 X Games Gold Medalist – Slopestyle
2014 X Games Bronze Medalist – Slopestyle
2014 Olympian – Slopestyle
2013 US Open Champion – Slopestyle
2013 FIS World Championship Gold Medalist – Slopestyle
2012 TTR World Championships Gold Medalist – Slopestyle
Social Followers: Instagram, 59,100; Facebook, 45,000; Twitter, 13,000
Tight end Jamal Pettigrew stepped through footwork drills, blocked dummies, pivoted and cut through routes in the LSU indoor practice facility — standard stuff, except for one thing: Pettigrew had only surgically repaired his torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) four months before, which, according to experts, meant he’d returned to football activities nearly twice as fast as the average athlete.
A few days later, outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson wore sweats as he tossed around a football during pregame warmups at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. He’d suffered a torn ACL against Miami on Sept. 2, tweeted a picture post-surgery Sept. 20, and less than two months later, tweeted a video of himself sprinting across LSU’s outdoor practice facility.
Plenty of torn ACLs with high-profile NFL athletes have played out publicly. Tom Brady. Jamaal Charles. Adrian Peterson famously returned to the Minnesota Vikings from a 2012 ACL tear in nine months — and that was widely considered unthinkable.
As much as we would like to prevent injuries, they do occur. In an ideal world, an injury would not disrupt our regular activities or participation in sport. But many times injuries lead to shifts in our regular activities. For many athletes, this injury can trigger an emotional and mental response.
Emotional responses that can occur after injury:
Lack of motivation
Changes in appetite
There is no correct way for an athlete to respond to an injury; every athlete is an individual and their response will vary. It is important to note that the emotional response to injury may change throughout the course of healing. It starts at the time of the injury but continues throughout rehab, and into the return-to-play phase as well. The healthcare team should be aware of emotional responses and be on the lookout for athletes who may not have proper coping to these intense emotions.