The Unseen Goals

When a footballer scores a goal, the fans cheer and clap. But what do they do when a player is injured? And what is the first question that players, themselves ask, and those surrounding them, when this happens? Does it have to do with their health or does it have to do with finance? Most likely it will not be directly related to the player’s own welfare but how the injury will affect the team’s welfare.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of economic and competitive implications associated with injuries. Gareth Bale is a clear example of this and his particular situation is worsened due to his recurring soleus muscle problem. Since he was first signed up by Real Madrid he has been off the pitch for long recovery periods .

So, how can these injuries affect a player?

Anxiety is an obvious answer. This condition is translated into a feeling of apprehension that can generate an increase in physiological activation which can be linked to demands of the environment, especially in situations of elite competition such as is the case of Gareth Bale. Due to external and internal judgement and of course, individual capacity, injuries can be perceived as a threat that logically generate insecurity. This plays a very important element closely related to performance, injury recurrences and injury periods.

Long injury periods do not only lead to insecurity, but also depresssion which can magnify the condition that the footballer is suffering, resulting in a negative impact in recovery.

The media and social networks also play an important role in the length of injury time a player has to endure. Constant comments and criticism can only worsen the player’s vulnerable position.

Is there any way this can be avoided? Or is it up to the footballer’s resillience to face adversity with positive reactions? How such events are perceived by the player alone is vital in the recovery process.

So, perhaps the best players are those who not only have skill and tactical knowledge of the game but those who have enough resillience on the pitch and more importantly off it, and are able to ignore the constant criticism, pulling through scoring their own personal goals – the goals the crowds and the media never seem to see.