But even greater challenges often lie in the recovery process that follows. Isolation from teammates. Lost time on the training pitch. Fears over your next contract or even your career.
As well as medical treatment, players require good support and the right mindset to overcome such challenges, says Petr Cech, who can be viewed as a role model for athletes recovering from injury.
In a twenty-year professional career, the goalkeeper earned a record 124 caps for Czech Republic and won four Premier League titles and one Champions League with Chelsea, between spells at Chmel Blšany, Rennes, Sparta Prague, and Arsenal.
Cech overcame leg breaks, fractured shoulders, and many more injuries in his twenty-year professional career. But none shook the football world like the fractured skull he suffered as a Chelsea player.
After lengthy rehabilitation, Cech pioneered a protective helmet that would save his own career and help other professionals return safely to the field of play.
In a new book (and companion video below), he shares his secrets for bouncing back from injury, and teaches fellow professionals how to turn potentially devastating experiences into opportunities to develop.