Last Spring, in the middle of New Hampshire’s short-lived softball season, an awful thing happened. My daughter broke her arm.

Now, it wasn’t a severe break, or one that required surgery but it was enough to require a cast for 3.5 weeks and ensure that softball season was over for her.

Not to sound harsh but my mind went to “how do we keep her involved”after the initial chaos of the break. I was taught you never quit or leave your team before the season is done. Granted, this was more to the thought of “I don’t like this” but this felt like a good opportunity to teach Paige how to be involved when she couldn’t be on the field.

First thing we did was to contact her coaches. They truly made her still feel like part of the team, even with her cast. After meeting and talking with them, we came up with a game plan.

How to Have Your Injured Player Still Be Part of the Team

Attend practice anyways. This kept her in the loop of hanging out with her teammates. While she couldn’t catch/throw/hit/run, she was there. She could watch the coach demonstrate a technique, carefully pick up balls in the outfield, and provide an extra body when needed.

Be at the games and in uniform. While her bright blue cast clashed with the neon green of her uniform, she was there. She helped coaches with the roster, she’d wear a helmet and round up the balls behind the catcher and high five her teammates on their way out of the dugout. She became the team cheerleader without being a cheerleader.

Talk about it. An injury is hard on you. Sometimes your self-esteem can take a blow when you can’t do what you want to. Be patient and remind your player that this isn’t forever. Promises of batting cages once the cast was off and doctor approval don’t hurt either.

Participate in league activities. Not much goes on for our town as a league besides fundraisers and opening/closing ceremonies but she was involved. She wore her uniform and sold her calendars and she was there to receive her participation trophy and celebrate the end of the season.

As much as it stinks to have a broken arm the day of your birthday and to spend the first part of summer with a cast and strict instructions on “what to do”, it was a lesson on how you’re still important even when not an active member of a team.