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BSF PRO: Noel Keeffe's How To Be Injured

Sharing the Newsvlogget posts written by the BSF PRO TEAM nordies as they train, travel, eat, sleep, think deep thoughts and handle difficult situations throughout the 2023-24 racing season. Meet the team, here.

On June 29th at around 7pm I ruptured my achillies playing adult league soccer. It was the end of the game and I had run to the soccer field from home as a warmup. As I started to sprint to close the gap between me and an oncoming attacker, I heard a loud pop and fell to my knees. I instantly knew something was wrong.

After an ER visit and a long drive to Colorado I underwent achillies repair surgery and was told it would be 6 months before I could return to sport. This will be the first in a series of blog posts chronicling my recovery journey and the psychological challenges that accompany it.

For about four hours after I ruptured my achillies my brain went into full panic mode. I had swirling thoughts of quitting skiing because this injury would surely end my career. I kept thinking I wasn’t cut out to be an athlete because this wouldn’t happen to someone who was, this was an injury for old people and weekend warriors. All my hopes, dreams, and hard work would amount to nothing because of some soccer. I have had negative thoughts before, but the gravity of these thoughts truly scared me. This was the lowest point psychologically I had been, in a long time.


But as it always does, time kept marching on. I was educated about my injury and made a plan for recovery. All of the sudden - instead of a death sentence - it changed into a challenge that I could overcome just like anything else in my life. I made a decision the same evening, I would not ponder why this happened to me or feel sorry for myself. I made a list of goals on my phone of things I wanted to accomplish while I was injured. I changed my screen saver to a picture of my favorite skier and an inspirational quote. These may seem like silly things to do but I was making my first steps toward recovery, and that is what counts.

What caused this change in attitude? For me, was remembering an interaction between Ingrid and Henrik Ingebrigtsen on the Team Ingebrigtsen TV show.

This is a reality TV show following the Ingebrigtsen family. Jackob Ingebrigtsen one of the middle children is the best middle distance runners of our time.

Ingrid: Getting my first injury I think is quite exciting, you’re almost a kid if you’ve not been hurt once. I feel like I’m learning something when I’m hurt. Then I realize what it means to be a top athlete and I have to think about whether it’s worth it.
Henrik: When you are injured, you get measured how strong you are mentally, how much resistance you can withstand. If you just feel sorry for yourself, there is no point in holding on any longer.


The psychological challenges are often harder to overcome than the physical ones and when your sport is central to your lifestyle and personal identity an injury can derail your entire being. You must decide repeatedly to let go of the past and to try and be the best at being injured. And after only 7 days post op, I was spinning with one leg on the trainer to get the blood flowing.

The most helpful mindset shifts for me are summed up in a few quotes.  

I’ve been here before and I will be here again.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal, but it is the courage to continue that counts.

Happiness is not found in solutions but in the acceptance of the unresolved.


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