It's well known that athletes hide injuries, but they're not the only group known to do this. Performers like dancers keep injury secrets, and so do workers in all types of jobs.
These groups might seem diverse, but they have a lot in common when we look at the reasons they hide injuries.
Stigma is the first reason people hide injuries. There have been big improvements in the culture around sports, performing arts, and worker's comp, but some people still have the old "no pain, no gain" attitude. To some people, reporting an injury is an act of weakness, or a way of letting the team down.
In addition to this internal pressure, there can also be external pressure from coaches, parents, teammates, supervisors, or fans to keep playing or working.
The second reason people hide injuries is because they're afraid of what they'll lose. With the focus on head injuries in recent years, athletes that get hit in the head know if they report concussion symptoms, they're coming out of the game. Workers who get hurt on the job fear loss of pay, or loss of their job. Performers who get hurt might fear that their replacement will outshine them on the stage and take their place.
When it comes to reporting injuries, athletes have a third incentive not to report being hurt - competitive advantage. If an opposing team knows a player is injured, and what the injury is, they might be able to take advantage of it. For example, if a football team has a running quarterback that has an ankle injury, it will change how the opposing defense plays.
These reasons all make some sense, but they're also all shortsighted.
Finishing a game, dancing tomorrow night, or working one more shift are never worth your long-term health.
Hiding a minor injury can turn it into a major one. It's never weak to report an injury and you're not letting your teammates, or coworkers down. If you're not up to your best, you owe it to the people counting on you to let them know. Letting a healthy player, performer, or worker take your place is the right thing to do.
If you're injured, don't hide it! Let the right people know, then go to the right person for help - your physical therapist!