Muscle Sport Magazine

Don’t Ignore the Pain: The Dangers of Playing Through Pain


Athletes are often considered modern-day warriors because of their “never say die” attitude and their willingness to play through the pain even when it is already far too severe. But sometimes that cavalier attitude can do more damage to an athlete than good. Almost any doctor would say that if something hurts, stop playing and get off the field or court. You can even ask any of the reputable Clive, Iowa physicians, and they will say the same thing. They think that playing through the pain is just dangerous, and it can even be a career-killer.

Do not ignore the signs

One account involved a child who played baseball in his hometown. According to the report, the child had been complaining about the pain in his shoulder for three months. Since he was an essential part of the team—he might have been a second baseman—the parents and his coach encouraged him to play through the pain.

The child kept on practicing and playing despite the pain in his shoulder. None of the adults in his circle even suggested that they visit a physician to look at his shoulder. Finally, their baseball team played once more in a tournament, and the child had the opportunity to throw the ball to the home plate striking one player out. Instead, when he threw the ball, he tore his labrum, which is quite painful. The only reason they knew that the child’s labrum was torn is that they finally had to bring the young player to a doctor to see what went wrong.

Further damage can also affect mental health

Another reason playing through pain is dangerous is that an injured athlete who keeps on competing is already suffering from another injury—a damaged self-perception.

According to experts, athletes who play through the pain often do so because they think that there is a lot at stake whenever they are competing. Of course, there is a lot an athlete can lose when they no longer have the ability to compete, but it should never negate one’s health.

In addition, a lot of athletes view it as a weakness when they are not able to compete due to an injury. When an athlete trains to be the best in their sport, they also form in their mind that every pain and injury are part of their journey to becoming the best. When they pause to catch their breath, or in another case to let their wounds heal, they are becoming weak. Therefore, they will push through the pain without really understanding that when a person’s body is in pain, it is a sign that they should stop for a while and rest.

Athletes who play through the pain also often fear the possibility that they might get replaced with others if they stop playing. This mindset is detrimental in many ways because some athletes base their importance as an individual on their capability to play a sport, and not on the fact they are people not objects.

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