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Take Five With US Speedskating's Brittany Salmon

March 17, 2014, 1:37 p.m. (ET)

Every athlete experiences a setback during his or her career. That’s just part of sports.

But with every setback, there’s also a chance to come back.

Liberty Mutual Insurance sat down with U.S. Speedskating’s Brittany Salmon to get her thoughts on making a strong comeback from a setback.

In our exclusive Take 5 interview, Brittany shared her challenges and lessons learned stemming from stress fractures in her spine. Brittany initially suffered the stress fractures in November of 2012, and they continued to be a pattern of season-ending injuries.    

Brittany said the back injury happened at practice, and remembers that at first, it prevented her from even standing up or sitting properly. She admits that her initial reaction was mostly “despair,” which turned into anger, and then “a depression of sorts.” She remembers asking, “Why me? Why again?” after her fourth consecutive season-ending injury began to sink in. 

Brittany wasn’t even officially diagnosed with the stress fractures until a year later, and her first several months of physical therapy didn’t seem to be helping heal the injury. Eventually, she found a doctor who “turns on muscles,” and not long after, she began to see remarkable results from her rehab work.

The comeback was then officially on for Brittany. By persevering and finding the right doctor, she was able to not only start training with 10 months to go before Olympic Trials, but she was feeling “the healthiest and strongest [she] had ever been."

Brittany didn’t make the official U.S. Speedskating Olympic Team for the 2014 Winter Olympics. But she did turn in the best performance of her career at the Olympic Trials, reaching her first-ever Senior A final.

Brittany recalls that her comeback really began when she stopped feeling sorry for herself – and started doing what she could to improve other areas of her game. She read nutrition and anatomy books, studied video, started visualizing and more. 

“Once I changed my mindset from ‘poor me’ to ‘this is an opportunity to improve other aspects of my life as an athlete,’ I saw incredible improvements,” says Brittany. “Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.”

You can read the full Take 5 interview with Brittany at ResponsibleSports.com. Come back next month for another exclusive Take 5 interview!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility shown by people every day. We created Responsible Sports, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display responsibility. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the field.

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