Dealing with a career-ending injury (via Onrise)

Editor’s Note (May 30, 2023): This article was submitted by Onrise which we have partnered with this May for Mental Health Awareness Month. 

A career-ending injury can be a devastating experience for any athlete. Here are some strategies for mentally dealing with a career-ending injury: 

  1. Allow yourself to grieve – It’s important to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your athletic career. This may involve expressing your emotions, seeking support from others, and giving yourself time to process the experience.
  2. Reframe your identity – If your athletic career was a significant part of your identity, it may be helpful to reframe how you see yourself. This can involve exploring other interests and hobbies and finding other sources of fulfillment and purpose.
  3. Focus on what you can control – While you may not be able to control the fact that your athletic career has ended, you can control how you respond to the situation. Focus on setting goals, developing new skills, and finding new opportunities for growth and development.
  4. Seek support – Seek support from family, friends, coaches, or mental health professionals who can help you navigate the emotional and psychological challenges of a career-ending injury. Reach out to Onrise to speak with a Player Care Specialist, who has been in your shoes about how to navigate this tricky time. 
  5. Stay connected – Stay connected with your athletic community, even if you are no longer able to compete. This can involve volunteering, coaching, mentoring other athletes, or being a manager on the team. 
  6. Practice self-care – You are changing the amount of exercise you are getting drastically. Maintain your physical and mental health by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation or yoga.
  7. Explore new opportunities – Use the skills and knowledge you gained from your athletic career to explore new opportunities and interests. Many of your skills that you have used playing your sport are incredibly transferable to the work environment. Use these skills to your benefit! 

Dealing with a career-ending injury can initially devastating, but with time, support, and trying your best to have a positive mindset, it is possible to find new sources of fulfillment and purpose. 


Onrise is a compassionate mental health and player care company on a mission to provide care and support to athletes across the nation. Athletes face extreme physical and psychological demands, as well as the typical pressures of managing their lives off the field, which can lead to extraordinary complexity and suffering that cannot be effectively addressed with standard approaches to wellness.

The Onrise Player Care Program provides a complete, whole-person wellness program that considers each athlete’s unique life experiences and biopsychosocial status to secure progress in all areas of their lives – not just on the pitch.

Contact us to set up a screening to support and protect the athlete in your life.


A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.

Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.

US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike, DICK'S Sporting Goods and Gatorade. | Facebook | X | Instagram | YouTube |