How the World’s Top Athletes Came Back Stronger After an Injury

The road back from injury can be long and arduous. There are several phases to it, which I outlined in a previous post. It starts with getting back up on your feet, then gradually engaging in physical activity. That being said, it is even possible to bounce back stronger post-injury. The following athletes did it and they can inspire you during your own recovery process. As to how, let’s take a look:

Ben Simmons


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Ben Simmons missed his entire rookie season due to a Jones fracture in his right foot. The number 1 pick got surgery during the off season then trusted the Sixers’ approach. “In no way, shape or form are we going to rush him back,” the former Sixers GM Brian Colangelo said. “We’re going to let the medical professionals dictate the course of action in terms of both rehabilitation, recovery and return to action.” Simmons was all-in on his team’s return-to-action protocol, and followed it to the letter. A season later Simmons won Rookie of the Year.

Rafael Nadal


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Nadal has had a long history of injuries (e.g. knee, foot, wrist), and experience bouncing back from them. This year he dealt with a hip injury, and again he came back seemingly stronger than ever. Proof of this are the two Grand Slams Nadal won — the French Open (his 12th) and the US Open (his 4th). Those victories have propelled the Spaniard to a familiar spot. bwin Tennis reports that Nadal will end the year as world number 1 in the world, a feat that seemed improbable given his hip struggles back in April. The question is, how does Nadal bounce back so well after getting hurt? For one, he isn’t afraid to take a step back, especially if he doesn’t feel right. The 19-time Grand Slam champion pulled out of the Shanghai Masters because he “wasn’t going to be 100 percent.” This willingness to take a break means Nadal’s injuries don’t get worse, as he has enough time to heal and rehabilitate.

Sally Pearson


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Pearson has battled numerous injuries throughout her career. And her secret to bouncing back from all of them is an unwavering self-belief. The Sydney Morning Herald’s profile on Pearson details how Australia’s track icon “never displayed the slightest suggestion of self-doubt in her career.” It seems simplistic that a positive mindset can help one overcome injuries. But that is certainly the case. Healthline explains that the glass half-full approach has plenty of benefits, including faster recovery from injury or illness, as well as a better life overall.

Tiger Woods


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Tiger Wood’s bad back made him a shell of his former self for years. But that didn’t deter him. Instead he kept at it, getting surgery after surgery to repair his bad back. He underwent two microdiscectomies in 2014 and 2015, then back fusion surgery in 2017. So began Tiger’s gradual ascent back to golfing relevance. He did what he had to do, which in this case was to have his back repaired. And that set him on the long road to recovery, culminating with a green jacket in this year’s The Masters.

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