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Dear Football Mom: How do I help my son through his injury?
Helmet Kisses

Dear Football Mom

How do you help your son cope when he was carried off the field on a stretcher during the game playoffs last Friday night? He’s in the hospital with a broken ankle and will have surgery soon. He is so angry that he won’t be able to play for the region championship. He’s a wide receiver and has broken several school records this season. We are not a religious family, but I’ve read that you are. Would you pray for us? I’m afraid of what this is doing to his usual positive personality.  

Dear Reader,

Oh, my stars, I am so sorry y’all are going through this trial. The truth is I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how hard it is, scary even, to see your child in pain and facing surgery. As moms, we are sometimes at a loss of how to help our children through this kind of adversity without becoming uptight, anxious and full-blown frantic ourselves. Of course, I’ll pray for y’all, and all the other boys of fall who have taken a hit this year. As much fun as football is, it’s never fun to get laid up with injuries. But injuries don’t have to stop a player’s determination. In fact, it will reveal it. 

Once rehab kicks in, it will be totally up to him as to his recovery. How determined will his willpower be in working through the pain? This is when the winner or whiner in him will come out. It is true. I tell you no lie. But as a mom of faith, I can tell you that leaning on the Lord is the best medicine, rehab or recovery plan available. 

That said, my best suggestion would be to start a game plan now. It is never good for an active athlete to while away the hours and get all bubble-headed. While he recovers from surgery, I would recommend reading a couple of books that might shine a light and help him through the downtime. You may even want to read out loud to him in the hospital. You’d be surprised how effective that is to get his mind off himself and that doggone injury.  

My picks for reading are “Never Shut Up” by Marcellus Wiley or “Shaken” by Tim Tebow. Once home, your whole family may enjoy films like, “My All American.” That film would be my first choice. It’s an awesome story about a player who never gave up for the Texas Longhorns and head coach legend, Darrell Royal. It could bring a tear — it is a true story. He might also enjoy “Touchback,” another great story, but he may not appreciate the significance of the film until later. Of course, good ole “Rudy,” and “Facing the Giants” is really good too, it starts off slow, but you’ll be drawn in, in more ways than one.

Keeping a timely curfew and getting plenty of rest and H2O (water) is huge. No goofing off and being stupid. He’ll be behind with schoolwork anyhow, so keeping a regimen and a schedule is always a good idea. Keep any doctor appointments. 

Make sure he eats healthy — green veggies, real food, meat, fish and milk. And keep that boy off his foot as much as possible. In other words … no cape flying, no Superman stunts! Stay on the crutches when mobile, no weight bearing for a few weeks. Listen to the doc and after release — rehab, rehab, rehab.

I have no doubt this trial will turn for good at some point for your family, and y’all will come out even stronger than you ever thought possible. So will your son.

•    •    •

Dear Football Mom,

Our son wants to give up football after being benched most of the year. He has potential but no confidence. Next year he’ll be a sophomore in high school. It is the only sport he plays, and he really does love it. What can we do to increase his confidence? 


Dear Reader,

What if Babe Ruth pulled out and didn’t show up after 1,330 strikeouts? What if Peyton Manning — who once had a speech impediment and was born with cleft palate — quit the position of quarterback, afraid to call the plays or counts because he wouldn’t be understood? What if Michael Jordon quit basketball after failing to make his high school basketball team as a sophomore.

These were all ordinary people who hung in, stuck to it and came out on top with extraordinary results because they failed to give up. Of course, my stance has always been that it is more harmful to force kids to play. Football players have to want to play the game and make up their own minds to do so. However, not playing could put his confidence meter in a corner for a very long time.

Small success leads to bigger success, but ya gotta put yourself out there. Maybe he is great at math or loves science. Or can run fast. The point is, find something that he likes and is good at and build on that. Small encouragement matters. 

As for the confidence of your son, the little imp lie of “the comparison trap” might be more at play than you think. But hey, honestly, if he was a freshman on a varsity team, that’s purdy awesome right there, even if he did warm the bench. He still practiced, worked out, and helped his team, perhaps more than he knows. 

Besides, you can learn a lot from the bench. But ya gotta pay attention. Take full advantage of the bench view, watch the game, the coaches, mark down mental notes, then who knows … he could be the guy with the red nose who’s called upon because of his rare talent — and leads his team to victory. 


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