Coping with Career-Ending Injury | Athletes Connected

(inspirational music) – When I started at the
University of Michigan, I had no idea I would
have the opportunity to walk onto the rowing team. I immediately fell in love
with the sport, and the team. Every aspect of my life
revolved around the team, and I didn’t want it any other way. During the fall of my junior
year, everything changed. I became injured and had
to medically redshirt for the rest of the season. (inspirational music) I was devastated. What was I supposed to do without rowing? Being away from my teammates,
unable to practice or compete, made me sick to my stomach. Negative thoughts ran through my mind. I spent most of that year
crying, feeling sorry for myself. I went from everything in my
day to day revolving rowing, and my teammates, to isolating
myself to numb the pain. I felt like a failure. I was scared and
embarrassed to ask for help. This same year, Athletes
Connected was created. I started attending
Athletes Connected meetings. These meetings helped me realize that I shouldn’t suffer in silence. I began to open up to my
coaches and close friends. Learning how to communicate my feelings during these meetings was important for my mental health while being injured. With the injury rehabbed, I came back in the fall of the next year, ecstatic to be back training
with my favorite team. (inspirational music) Within the first week of
practice, I was injured. Again. I was devastated. Through that year, I worked
with my athletic trainer, and I was able to come back
at the end of the season, but I did not contribute
in the way I wanted. Fast-forward to the
beginning of my fifth year, I was still suffering
from lingering injuries. My coaches and I decided that it was time to medically retire. I had recently been elected as one of the captains by my teammates, and I felt that by seeking
medical retirement, I was giving up, and letting my team down. But, in reality, it was the opposite. I was met with unwavering support. My coach asked me if I
wanted to still be captain, and take on a new role
as his student coach. It took me a long time to accept that my rowing career was over, but I had a new place to put my passion for the team, and rowing. (inspirational music) Athletes Connected, and
our athletic counselors, helped me realize that my
sport does not define me. Even though I was not contributing
to the team physically, I could still contribute
by being a great leader, and a great teammate. Although my journey was a
rollercoaster of ups and downs, and different than I
could have ever imagined, I am forever grateful for the experience. Michigan, and Michigan
Rowing, has changed my life for the better. (bright music) – We are one community. – You perform best when you’re physically and mentally healthy. – Asking for help is a sign of strength. (bright music)


  1. I went to high school with Arielle. I'm so happy that she found her way out of the darkness and was welcomed back by her team. You go girl! Also you look super strong 🙂

  2. my cervical spine is injured i m a wrestler 4 months its been im sitting at home in depression god please heal my injury

  3. These videos are incredibly helpful. A concussion and knee injury have stopped me from competing in Jiu Jitsu for about a year and these videos have helped a ton. Thank you.

  4. I recently got an injury breaking both my bones in my leg. This took a toll on me. I was taken out of all my sports and was told I couldn’t walk for few months not including rehab. Today is my team’s regionals. Thank you for the video.

  5. What about sports that are not team sports? You can't contribute to a team, you just end your career and have to completely forget about it…

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