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Terrible Mental Block After Paralysis

IngoFawn

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Sep 16, 2020
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Hi, I have been doing gymnastics for 7 years now and back in early April, I sustained a really bad neck injury. For some background information, there has never been a time in my life where I was afraid to throw a skill until now. I had just finished warming up and my coach decided to have me start with a yurchenko layout on vault. Pretty simple, I start off running and everything is fine until I feel something sharp in my neck right when I land. I fall and realize that I can't move the right side of my body. It is now December and I am fully recovered but it took about a month to be able to use the right side of my body again and then COVID shut things down. I decided to do something simple today like a cartwheel and I literally faceplanted because I was too afraid to do it. I couldn't even do a backbend, it's like my body won't let me. How do I get over this mental block? What happened was a freak accident but my body is refusing to register that. Please help me! :)
 

gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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I would recommend a PT familiar with gymnastics (ex. one who has competed or one who regularly works with gymnasts) and a sports psychologist I am not sure anyone here can offer much advice beyond this.
 
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IngoFawn

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Sep 16, 2020
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I would recommend a PT familiar with gymnastics (ex. one who has competed or one who regularly works with gymnasts) and a sports psychologist I am not sure anyone here can offer much advice beyond this.
Yeah I have a PT for gymnastics but I was wondering if I should maybe get a sports pyschologist, sounds like I probably should
 

gymgal

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Yeah I have a PT for gymnastics but I was wondering if I should maybe get a sports pyschologist, sounds like I probably should
yes, definitely a sports psychologist. Perhaps asking the PT if they are comfortable referring you to someone they have worked with in the past
 

IngoFawn

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Sep 16, 2020
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yes, definitely a sports psychologist. Perhaps asking the PT if they are comfortable referring you to someone they have worked with in the past
Thats a great idea, I didn't even know where to start, thank you!
 

flippin out

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Sep 26, 2011
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ok, I didn't read through all responses....the injury sounds like it was a freak thing, but a very very serious injury. I'd not encourage returning before being cleared to do so. SO I am assuming all physical needs have been met (doctors approval to train, you've done all PT and followed all medical advice!!)

So.. that assumed, on to the mental aspect. I do have some experience with this type of trauma from sport related injury. I recommend not just any pyschologist/therapist. I would recommend you seek one experienced in PTSD trauma and trained in a technique called EMDR. (link to description of what EMDR is -- https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/ ).

Expect a few visits. First visit (a get to know you and a your background), then 1-3 sessions of EMDR treatment. (just for an success story, our experience was 1 EMDR session and that was all that was needed to move past the trauma.

Her issue was not as severe as your's [fear of the specific skill that caused the serious injury, not fear of all skills], so maybe figure the 3 sessions for sure. But it truly was a GodSend!! After her one session she no longer had (what she called) a deep irrational fear of the skill (one that she'd been doing for 9 years). Still had a normal/healthy amount of nervousness but not a deep seeded fear.

Hope this helps

ETA - I see you are 19, if you are part of a college team and did this during a practice you should be elligble for the university to cover costs associated with any therapy you chose. They may also already know of reputable therapist trained in EMDR. If not, or if you are not on a universtiy team, just do your research and look for one trained and specializing in EMDR.
 

IngoFawn

New Member
Gymnast
Fan
Sep 16, 2020
6
Country
USA
ok, I didn't read through all responses....the injury sounds like it was a freak thing, but a very very serious injury. I'd not encourage returning before being cleared to do so. SO I am assuming all physical needs have been met (doctors approval to train, you've done all PT and followed all medical advice!!)

So.. that assumed, on to the mental aspect. I do have some experience with this type of trauma from sport related injury. I recommend not just any pyschologist/therapist. I would recommend you seek one experienced in PTSD trauma and trained in a technique called EMDR. (link to description of what EMDR is -- https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/ ).

Expect a few visits. First visit (a get to know you and a your background), then 1-3 sessions of EMDR treatment. (just for an success story, our experience was 1 EMDR session and that was all that was needed to move past the trauma.

Her issue was not as severe as your's [fear of the specific skill that caused the serious injury, not fear of all skills], so maybe figure the 3 sessions for sure. But it truly was a GodSend!! After her one session she no longer had (what she called) a deep irrational fear of the skill (one that she'd been doing for 9 years). Still had a normal/healthy amount of nervousness but not a deep seeded fear.

Hope this helps

ETA - I see you are 19, if you are part of a college team and did this during a practice you should be elligble for the university to cover costs associated with any therapy you chose. They may also already know of reputable therapist trained in EMDR. If not, or if you are not on a universtiy team, just do your research and look for one trained and specializing in EMDR.
Someone mentioned EMDR to me but I didn't know any one who tried it and I had no idea about the university thing, thanks for telling me, I will definitely give it a go!