Overcoming Sports Injuries and Fear of Re-Injury
Every serious sports-related injury has a serious mental and emotional component. The current treatment model for sports-related injuries examines the physical nature of the injury. This approach leaves the mental and emotional impact of the injury untreated. Mental and emotional issues and concerns can affect the athlete before surgery and during the recovery process and can show up with devastating intensity when the athlete has been cleared to play.
Our team members are trained in specific treatment protocols to help athletes break through the unresolved and complex aspects of serious sports-related injuries. Teaching the brain and nervous system how to process and integrate the overwhelming anxiety, fear of re-injury, loss, frustration, depression, anxiety, and anger helps the injured athlete restore confidence, focus, and passion and return to play without the crippling fear of re-injury that haunts so many injured athletes.
After an athlete has rehabilitated from an injury, they are cleared to play at “100%.” Again, this “100% cleared to play” only considers the athlete’s physical integrity after injury.
Our treatment protocols address the mental and emotional impact of injuries and help the athlete return to play confidently, mentally strong, and free of the fear of re-injury that holds many injured athletes back.
Treating an athlete before they have surgery can eliminate many of the symptoms we see with injured athletes. Processing their rational and irrational fears before they ever have surgery makes facing surgery, the recovery process, and returning to play a remarkably different experience for the athletes that are fortunate enough to do this work prior to surgery.
“I have had ups and downs mentally and physically in the sport of gymnastics. ISP’s sports performance work has helped me let go of the injuries and disappointments I’ve had in my career and has helped me focus on the accomplishments that I have experienced and the ones that are soon to come. I consider Robert Andrews my personal “mind” trainer and a friend I can talk to.” ~ Former Olympian and World Champion
“I injured my knee early in the season. The pain from surgery was incredibly difficult to get through, but the anger I experienced watching the whole season go by without me being able to play was unbearable. Robert helped me work through the injury, put the loss of that season behind me, and focus on the joy of the game again. I am performing with more fierceness and determination now than before the injury. I also feel like I am playing smarter because Robert helped me see where I was wasting mental and physical focus and energy in practice and in games.” ~ Mark, College Defensive Lineman
Sports Injury Spectrum of Severity
Requires Time Off
Physical Therapy and Rehab
Surgery and Rehab
No matter where the injury falls on this spectrum, the athlete undergoes an intense mental and emotional crisis when injured. The athlete’s identity, sense of self, source of confidence and passion, connection to teammates, and stress outlets are suddenly taken away. For many, this experience can be so intense that it can be considered traumatic.
As an athlete moves along the spectrum of care and attention, the intensity of these emotional states increases. Put simply, the worse the news around the injury, the worse the mental and emotional reaction and suffering the athlete experiences, and the bigger the blocks to returning to high levels of performance.
Current NFL Player Reaches New Levels of Success
“I was recommended to Robert Andrews by a friend. I was very doubtful that anything like this would work. After one session, I experienced a different mindset about the injuries I suffered prior to working with Robert. My confidence began to grow. I was able to train and compete without being afraid of re-injury. When I noticed that his help in overcoming my injuries worked, I started working with him on the mental side of my game (maintaining focus, overcoming negative thoughts, staying in the zone, managing distractions, etc.). The results have been tremendous. I just finished the best season of my career. I was able to overcome obstacles that I’ve dealt with for years. I look forward to having an even better year next year. I am forever grateful to Robert. I love his passion, his expertise, and his diligence to help athletes reach their maximum potential.” ~ NFL Player
From College to Professional Athlete
“I’ve known Robert Andrews for five years, and he has helped me transition from the college arena to the professional stage. I swam in college and now compete for the USA in triathlons. Robert has helped me find balance and the connection between the mind, body, and spirit. I’ve learned from working with him the importance of mental toughness, preparation, and visualization. I see the truth in the quote: “The game is won on the six-inch playing field of the mind.” I can put in countless hours of physical training, but if my mind is not prepared for game day, my chances of success are like winning the lottery. A strong mind is a strong body.
Sports mental training isn’t magic. It’s about helping an athlete unearth the potential inside them. This is what Robert does. He has helped me tap into my core and dig up the potential and talent that lie within me. I’m grateful to be working with the Institute of Sport Performance. Take your game to the next level and give Robert a call today.” ~ Triathlon Age Group National Champion F25-29, and 2016 Olympic hopeful
“I came to Robert after years of frustration with not being able to confidently throw a baseball due to a shoulder injury. The frustration began to carry over into my overall performance, and it also affected my relationships with my family members. Through only two sessions with Robert, I began to see great improvements being made. My confidence began to emerge, and my performance began to increase. At the end of my sessions with Robert, baseball became fun again. I learned to control my stress levels, and I was able to perform to my capabilities. Through our mental work, I was able to enter Spring Training with a clear mind and had the best Spring Training I have had in my professional career. Thank you Robert.” ~ Professional Baseball Player
“My first college punt was blocked. The experience took away my confidence and affected my natural talent in a negative way.
Robert helped me work through that experience. I was able to release the tension, negative images, and memories I carried.
Robert helped me open my eyes to what is possible for me as a punter. He helped me realize my full potential.
My first punt after I began my work with Robert was the exact punt I visualized in his office: fifty-five yards with no return in front of 90,000 people on the road.” ~ College Punter .”
From Burnout To PR’s To Success In Life
“I came to Robert Andrews after 2+ years of no athletic success. I was at my wits end. I felt like nearly giving up as many around me had already given up on me. However, Robert believed I still had gas left in the tank. He believed I wasn’t done. As we began working together, he helped me see the connection between me as an athlete and me as a person.
He guided me and helped me re-discover my core—the real me that had been hiding in the shadows. It was only when I got real with myself as a person and dealt with some core issues that I pushed through my athletic stagnation and began to shine. He was right—I wasn’t done. There was still a lot left in me. Although I am a retired collegiate athlete now, I am using the things I learned with Robert in my everyday life. I feel bigger, bolder, and empowered to tackle life’s curve balls. As one coach told me, “Sport doesn’t define your life. It helps you live your life.” Thank you, Robert, for helping me along this journey. I am truly grateful.” ~ College Swimmer
“Robert helped me get my mind out of the way of my ability. I realized that pressure is something I created in my mind. The biggest thing I learned is that I didn’t have to change anything I had done before to be successful.
I got away from being myself. I perceived I was under pressure, so my mind and body reacted, and I began to change things that had made me successful. Robert helped me find ways to channel the pressure from the game, the situation, and the energy of the crowd into my performance in a very positive way. I learned how to create confidence and get rid of doubt.” ~ College Pitcher
“I am an open-minded person, but I had no idea how helpful working with Robert would be. I didn’t realize how much working with the mental side of my game would improve my performance. I have been through a lot of injuries and other negative experiences that have affected my performance and confidence in a negative way.
Robert helped me realize and remember how much talent I have and what a good player I am. Our work helped me boost my confidence, raise my level of play, and experience a huge increase in my batting average.” ~ College Softball Player
“On June 24, 2010, our 14-year-old son was diagnosed with skin cancer. He was forced to face the cancer, the doctors, and underlying fears of death at a young age, which forced him to change everything about his teenage life and what was important to him.
He was in the middle of his select baseball season when the lab results from his moles came back as melanoma. He has always played baseball and, over the years, has become a pretty good catcher. Being a catcher wasn’t what he did; it was who he was. In his mind, cancer had taken his job and purpose away.
Within the next 6 months, our son had thankfully recovered well from surgery and found himself free from cancer. On the surface, he was a happy teenager in high school, but as he started to work back into the role of a baseball player, he struggled, but not so much physically; mentally, he was struggling to separate baseball from cancer.
Through a friend, we were recommended to Robert Andrews. Robert created an atmosphere that conveyed a safe place for our son to open up and share his dreams, fears, and nightmares. With his innovative techniques, Robert helped him put his cancer behind him and taught him to self-manage his emotions, including dealing with his ongoing check-ups that he will endure for the rest of his life. Importantly, Robert also helped him re-find the light that had dimmed in his eyes. His smile was back.
This past spring, he tried out for the high school team and made it. He had a great season and was the starting catcher for the sophomore team. He was also the only freshman to be called up for the Varsity playoffs; now, he only caught bullpens in the playoffs, but what a happy catcher he was.
Our whole family is incredibly appreciative of the mental healing that Robert has helped our son achieve.” ~ Parents of a College Baseball Player
“Our daughter was just starting with a new, highly competitive club when she tore her ACL. We knew volleyball was her life at 14, but we didn’t realize how much until she had to sit out her freshman year of high school. Coming back in the spring to a new club full of some of the best players in the city, her confidence hit rock bottom. She was not the child we knew, and we were scared of what we were seeing. She changed in every way possible: moody, sad, angry, scared to play; the passion for the game was gone; she was having trouble connecting to teammates and friends off the court. Nothing we tried helped.
It took us over a year to find Robert Andrews, but it only took a few sessions for him to give us back our girl. When I spoke to him on the phone before our first session, he told me it would be 3–4 sessions and I would see my old daughter back. It sounded too good to be true. Remarkably, it took two sessions, and she was back on the court, playing with full confidence; all the fear of the injury that had held her back was gone.
Robert took the time to not only meet with us around our busy schedule, he followed up with calls and texts to both me and my daughter, which meant the world to us both.
I am honored to recommend him and have already sent another family in crisis after their daughter suffered a tragic injury on the court.
My only regret is that I didn’t send my daughter to him immediately after the injury, instead of a year later.” ~ Mother of High School Volleyball Player
Traumatic Gymnastics Injury
“Our son suffered a very serious gymnastics-related injury. He had so much fear and anxiety about the injury that he developed serious physical symptoms in training and competition. Before he met with your team, he was sick at least once a week and missed lots of school and practice. Since he worked with you, the change has been remarkable. He has not been ill or missed any school or practice. His coach said he is doing well and does not seem apprehensive in the least about training or competing on the apparatus he was injured on. We are grateful for the work you did with our son.” ~ Parents of a Gymnast
“Thanks so much to Robert Andrews for all the work he did with my daughter! She had a hard time trusting her arm after recovering from a shoulder injury and was struggling with her throwing. Robert helped her get rid of the negative image she had in her mind and replace it with a positive one. After just a few sessions with Robert, her confidence is back. It is so nice to see her enjoying softball again, like she used to! I will highly recommend Robert Andrews to anyone I hear of who needs his services.” ~ Mother of high school Softball player
“In the second week of the season, during his forty-first consecutive start, my son suffered a concussion—out cold for about a minute.
He sat out the next game, but his recovery did not proceed as everyone had hoped. He was fatigued, headaches continued, and things were different. Cleared to play in week four, he returned to the regular routine. Despite playing well, those close to him could see that he was certainly not his “normal” self. He received the hit that would “let him see that he’s fine” the next week. In fact, he received several of them. But he remained tentative and was more quiet than usual, and I became very concerned at that point. I had seen this before over the years in other players I had coached myself—despite everyone’s best efforts, the recovery from a serious injury was often never fully complete.
It was at this time, in the middle of the season, that Robert Andrews happened to be the guest speaker at the school’s athletic booster meeting. His topic, assisting the recovery of injured athletes, could not have been better timed, and I spoke to him afterward and set up time for him to see my son.
His work with my son had an immediate impact. After the first session, one of our trainers made the remark that he “seems to be his old self.” After the fourth and final treatment, he approached practice with confidence once again, and his game performance was no longer tentative; he was back in charge. He played at a very high level in the second half of the season, picking up where he left off before the concussion. In fact, his performances after his sessions with Robert Andrews were nothing less than stellar. He continued to improve his performance each week, throwing for nine touchdowns in his final three play-off games to win a second consecutive state championship. Mr. Andrews took a genuine interest in my son’s progress and came to see him play on three occasions after his treatments.
I can fully recommend Robert Andrews as a thoughtful professional who has developed an effective program to assist high-performing athletes in recovering from injury or setback. There is no doubt that he was of great assistance to my son.” ~ Grateful Dad, Houston, TX
Gymnastics: Strained ACL and Hamstring
“My daughter is a competitive gymnast. She strained her ACL and hamstring at camp. She was put in a leg brace and started physical therapy. When she started her rehabilitation, her therapist was concerned that her responses to therapy were not indicative of her diagnosed injuries. We went to another doctor for a second opinion, and she was diagnosed with reflexive sympathetic dystrophy, or complex regional pain syndrome. This is a disease of the central nervous system, and our daughter’s system was reacting inappropriately to pain; in other words, her nerves were firing all the time, and even moving air (i.e., from a ceiling fan) caused excruciating pain. She was on crutches in the beginning and then fell and hurt her wrist. Her wrist was not broken, but because of reflexive sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), she lost total function within 12 hours. So now she was in a wheelchair.
Then we met Robert Andrews! My daughter’s doctor suggested she needed support in dealing with the pain and her injuries. Robert helped Lucy replace her negative images of her injuries and pain with positive ones. He helped her deal with her fears of injury and re-injury. She treasured her visits with Robert. He was the only health care provider who did nothing to hurt her. He was in a safe zone. Lucy’s first session with him, she was in a wheel chair and could not walk or use her right hand. Lucy’s last session with him, she was doing handstands and flipping over all the furniture.
My family and I know that Lucy is doing so well in gymnastics, school, and life in general because of Robert Andrews.”
“Ten months have passed since you first saw my son. I wanted to write you and tell you what an amazing difference your treatment and subsequent presence have made in his life. It is my hope that you can use his story as a testimonial to help others in need.
My son, Matt, was given one year to play high school football after sitting behind a Division 1 player until his senior year. He shattered records in his first 4 ½ games at quarterback, amassing 1550 yards and 14 touchdowns. In the fifth game, he received a concussion. He was declared eligible to play the next week, so we all thought he was fine, but in that next game, he threw five interceptions and fumbled twice. The next game, he threw four interceptions. It was clear he was not the same player, or even the same person at home. He was lethargic, unfocused, and just not himself. Knowing nothing about concussions, we simply relied on the advice of the team doctor that he would “snap out of it.” In his final two games, he seemed to play a little better but never returned to his original form on the field or in his head.
Matt received a football scholarship, competed last spring in practice and scrimmages, and excelled. He was the only quarterback on the team that did not throw one interception all spring. However, in the final spring game, in front of a large crowd, he seemed quite tight in his delivery—even warming up. It was clear that he was not throwing the same as he had just the day before. On the first play, he threw an interception. On the third play, he should have thrown another. Clearly, he was not “on.”. After the game, he commented that he almost knew that was going to happen and that as soon as he walked out there in front of the crowd, he just felt “weird.”
I went back to Texas and started searching online for answers. I came across some articles on post-concussive syndrome, and they touched on what seemed to be happening—a negative physical and mental reaction in response to re-creating similar circumstances that caused the concussion. I spoke with a couple of doctors, one in California and one in Massachusetts, who said they could help, yet I didn’t have the confidence that they really could.
Then I came across your website.
I called, and within two minutes, you asked for my email and sent me a letter—a story from another father who described his son’s story. It was almost exactly what my son had been through, and you had helped him. I remember getting chills, thinking, ”This is the right place.” You suggested a 2-day session, so we came down to Houston as soon as Matt got home for summer break. The overnight change was quite amazing. After the first session, he seemed to perk up emotionally in ways we had not seen in months and talked of feeling an inner confidence he hadn’t felt since the incident eighteen months prior. After the second session, the whites of his eyes cleared up—literally, they went from a grayish color to a bright white.
He returned to college with a confidence he had not experienced since the first month of high school football in his senior year. The changes were clearly a result of your amazing technique. It is now my belief that there is so much we, and the average doctor, don’t know about the far-reaching effects of a concussion. I would encourage any parent who has a child who has had a concussion to seriously consider Robert Andrew’s program.
As well, thank you for your follow-up care and attention to my son, and especially to your technique that has given him his competitive edge back.” ~ Thankful Father
Baseball: Traumatic Injury
“Early in the season, I was hit in the face by a 94-mile-per-hour fastball. The impact of the pitch crushed my cheek and the bones underneath my eye. It was a very traumatic injury. An inch higher or more in the middle of my face, and I might be blind or worse. I was taken from the ballpark to the emergency room by ambulance. Surgery was performed three days later. It required five metal plates and forty-two screws to put the bones of my face back together.
I was told I would miss a minimum of eight weeks, but everyone thought my season was over and that I would have to redshirt. This made me very angry. It was hard for me to think that everyone had given up on me.
My school trainers suggested I work with Robert Andrews on the injury. My mother did some research on Robert and found out that he has helped a lot of athletes overcome serious sports-related injuries. I thought it was a good idea.
I saw Robert for the first time two and a half weeks after the injury. Before I went to see him, I was lying around, mad and frustrated about not playing. I thought it would be good to talk to someone about everything I was going through.
Robert used specific techniques to help me clear my mind of the injury and see myself playing at a high level again. He helped me through the trauma of the injury and helped me get back into the game without the fear of being injured again.
A month to the day after the injury, and two weeks after I saw Robert for the first time, I was cleared to play and back in the batter’s box with no worries. I felt like it was the first time I was ever able to play baseball without thinking about it or putting pressure on myself. Things just seemed to flow.
In my first game back, I hit a home run in my first at-bat. My third at bat, I hit another home run. I missed a third home run by inches. That night, I was four for five with two home runs, a single, a double, and six RBI’s.
The next game, we faced the team we were playing when I was injured. Leading into that game, I visualized hitting a home run. It was something I saw in my mind as a statement that I was back. In my second at-bat, I hit a home run over the center field wall.
My first week back, I received conference hitter of the week honors. That week, I was nine for eighteen with three home runs, four doubles, and thirteen RBI’s.
My work with Robert helped me tremendously. He helped me put the injury behind me and move on. He helped me see that there was so much to learn about the game during my down time. When I returned, not only was I a better baseball player, I was a better teammate and leader.” ~ College Baseball Player
“I went to see Mr. Andrews not knowing what to do with my life after a catastrophic leg injury that ended my career. I was depressed and on the path to ruining everything I had worked for. The depression was suffocating my whole life. I started working with Robert, and I could see dramatic results right away. I visited multiple therapists with no real improvement. What Robert is doing is state-of-the art work. His dedication and love for what he does changed my life. I can’t thank him enough for the work he did with me. My outlook on life and the way I see things are totally different now. Thank you for everything, Mr. Andrews.” ~ Former Football Player