How World Cup Athletes WIN

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How World Cup Athletes WIN

Musings from a Physician's Birds-Eye View of the Big Game

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is now underway in the beautiful country of Brazil, and I have the incredible privilege of watching the tournament from what I think is the best seat in the stadium – the sidelines. As a physician for the U.S. Men's National Team and FIFA medical team, my colleagues and I have the honor of caring for our country's team during one of the world's most coveted sporting events. While I know my vantage point is "rare air" compared to the television screens most everyone else is watching from, there are things about this experience that I have witnessed which I think can be useful life lessons to EVERYONE, no matter where you're sitting. Here's one of them.

Injury ≠ Failure. If there is one tie that binds elite athletes together, no matter the sport, it's their ability to rebound from adversity. In contact sports like soccer, injury can often be inevitable. Quite frankly, it's why I'm here. And after decades of treating athletes from numerous sports, I've noticed that they have this inspired way of "bouncing back" after they get hurt.

For some that's a quick check to make sure nothing's seriously injured and then they're back out on the field again. For others it's a tougher road – one that might involve surgery, painful rehabilitation and re-conditioning before they return to play. But with nearly all of the athletes I've treated over the years, they grab hold of this inner strength and harness it to reemerge stronger, VICTORIOUS. If I could bottle whatever "it" is and give it to everyone I meet, I would. No matter what you call it, tenacity, stick-to-itiveness, or even swagger, it's something we can all benefit from more of in our daily lives, athletes or not.

So next time something's broken you and has you thinking you've failed - grab hold, dig in and work. Hard! No one determines how well you'll succeed in this life, but you.

Together, we will continue to learn that the WIN is within!

~ Bert

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