As athletes, we push ourselves through pain to play through a multitude of things. Whether it be a pulled muscle, a stress fracture, a cold or even a stomach bug, we have trained and pushed our bodies to the maximum on many occasions. But, sometimes we have to listen to our bodies when they are telling us “something just isn’t right.” This is what I am currently going through. I am twenty-one years old and haven’t missed a game since I sprained my ankle my sophomore year of high school. I was bragging at the beginning of the basketball season this year about how I have never missed a minute of practice in my college career for class, injury or illness. I should have knocked on wood.
At first, I missed a few days after pulling both quads. It took three days of practice before I realized something was off. My lymph node in my neck was swollen, I had little to no energy to get out of bed and practice was a bear. Fast forward to the middle of the week I am very sick. Finally, I go to urgent care on a Sunday a few weeks ago to find out that I have mono (something I do not have time for). Being Maggie, and that I do not sit out, I figure that I will be back by the following Wednesday ready to play.
Plot twist mono has kicked my butt. I missed a few days of classes. Basically dying sitting to watching practice. I would nap for hours at a time only to end up in bed by 8 pm. Things continued to get worse over the course of the next two weeks, so my parents came and got me from school last Thursday. They took me to the doctors the following morning to later find out I had a nasty sinus infection on top of mono go figure…
The hardest part of being sick is being away from my team, my second family.
I sat on the bench for our first game and not being able to get in between those lines was the worst feeling I could ever imagine. Nothing was worse though than sitting on my couch at home watching my team play online, I felt even more removed. It’s hard but here are five things you can do to distract yourself from the time you are missing!
1. Catch up on your Netflix!
I get it, trust me I do! When I am in season, basketball consumes my every waking free moment. If I am not at practice, a lift session or playing a game, we are traveling, doing community service, etc. Even when I am not doing anything basketball related, I am still thinking about it 24/7. Between school work and basketball, it leaves little time for other activities. Over the last three weeks, I have been sick, I have spent a lot of time in my bed. So I have caught up on all the shows I watch and may or may not have started three new shows. Hey, I am really sick don’t judge me!! My rationale is I am letting my body rest and heal so I can get back out on the court as soon as possible.
Between school, basketball and extracurriculars I have seen 1, 2 and 3 am way more than I would like. A symptom of mono is fatigue and let me tell you it hit me hard!! I spent many afternoons napping and then I am in bed by 8 pm pretty regularly.
3. Support your team in any way you can
I know it is hard to feel so removed from your team and like you can’t help, but the situation is what you make it.
If your body allows it, try and be as involved as you can. Before I decided I need to go home, I would nap in the afternoon to make sure that I could make it to practice and be with my team. I went to everything I could. Now that I am home I messaged my team on game day wishing them luck and reminding them that I support them and am proud of them. I also watched the game online with the help of my parents.
4. Keep busy
Sitting and stressing about the practices and games you’re missing does nothing positive for your body, health or mental sanity. Trust me, I understand, easier said than done. I am a senior and watching games feels like time slipping away from me. Worrying about things that I cannot change does not do anything good for me. I have mono, I have to sit out, and no one can change that.
Every time I start to feel myself getting worked up I remind myself it is not permanent nor is it forever.
When I begin to dwell on the negative I try to be productive and work on school work, or color or anything that keeps me busy.
5. Reach out
My parents have been my number one supporters through this whole ordeal. While still at school I could call them any time of the day and they would be there for me. What’s hard for me is I am a busy go, go, go kind of girl and right now I am watching a lot of tv, not working out, not playing the sport that I love or doing any extracurriculars. It hurts. Being able to have friends, teammates, coaches, and family that I can reach out to is so helpful. Even though a lot of my social interaction has come from FaceTime, it’s nice to know I have people there to help 1, keep me occupied and 2. help reassure me that this storm cannot last forever.
Being sick and missing your sport is the absolute worst. You feel like garbage, and on top of that, you cannot participate in your stress release activity. Try to keep yourself busy and keep your mindset positive. Heal your body, rest, recover, and you’ll be back out there before you know it!!