Master of Science (MSc)
Faculty of Science
Millions of athletic injuries occur annually. Athletic injures involve not only physical distress but psychological distress as well. Nevertheless, injured athletes rarely see a mental health care professional. It has been suggested that health care professionals, such as physicians, physiotherapists, and athletic therapists, are well positioned to address the psychological aspect of injury. Health care professionals report that they sometimes address the psychological aspect of injury with the athletes they treat. There is limited research, however, on what injured athletes perceive to be the role of health care professionals in addressing the psychological aspect of injuries. Therefore the purpose of the present study was to examine what role athletes perceive health care professionals to play in the psychological rehabilitation of injured athletes. Twenty-three athletes who had suffered a serious athletic injury took part in the present study by completing and online questionnaire. Results indicate that participants thought it was important to have the psychological aspect of injury addressed by health care professionals. Injured athletes indicated that health care professionals most often addressed fear of re-injury and avoidance of sports-specific rehabilitation activities. Conversely, concerns about weight changes and dependence on painkillers were discussed less often. With regard to the psychological aspect of injury, injured athletes found it most helpful to have health care professionals educate them on all aspects of their injury and rehabilitation. Moreover, they appreciated a rehabilitation atmosphere that was supportive and positive; one in which they felt important. Injured athletes valued the feeling that there was open two-way communication between themselves and the health care professional. Additionally, participants thought that physiotherapists and athletic therapists addressed the psychological aspect of injury more often and more effectively than other health care professionals. Results of this study indicate that injured athletes recognize the psychological component to athletic injury and appreciate that it should be addressed. This is generally consistent with previous research which has focused on the perspective of health care professionals. It also brings up many questions for further research including replication of the present study with a larger sample size, and a modified questionnaire, as well as further examination of the roles of health care professionals and mental health care professionals in addressing the psychological aspect of injury.
Russell, Hayley C., "Are Health Care Professionals Addressing the Psychological Aspect of Athletic Injury? A Survey of Injured Athletes" (2010). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 975.