Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Kinesiology (MKin)


Kinesiology and Physical Education


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Tracey

Advisor Role



Athletes are often cleared to return to sport with little emphasis on psychological readiness in relation to physical readiness. This is important because athletes who are not psychologically ready to return to sport (RTS), despite being physically cleared, may lack motivation to compete and lack confidence in their abilities (Podlog, Banham, Wadey, & Hannon, 2015), drop out of sport, fear re-injury (Ardern et al., 2014), worry about future performance (Podlog & Eklund, 2006), experience anxiety and feel depressed (Tracey, 2003) or incur further injury (McCullough et al., 2012). Remarkably, there is no definition of psychological readiness consistently used in the literature. It is imperative to understand this construct more accurately before practitioners over-rely on Glazer’s (2009) Injury-Psychological Readiness to Return to Sport Scale (IPRRS).

The purpose of this study was to explore injured athletes’ experiences and perceptions of psychological readiness during rehabilitation and after return to competition (RTC). Interviews focused on athletes’ emotions, behaviours, and cognitions surrounding the RTC process. Thematic analysis of personal interviews involving 15 university student-athletes before and after RTC (30 interviews total) revealed four inherent characteristics (mental, individual, dynamic, knowing), multiple precursors (RTC precursors, coping precursors), and three major attributes of injured athletes’ psychological readiness (confidence, focus, realistic expectations). A definition of psychological readiness to RTS is proposed. Current conceptualization of psychological readiness still needs refinement, but results from this research should be used to facilitate improvement of the IPRRS or development of a new measure and aid athletic therapists, coaches, and athletes in the utilization of more comprehensive RTS protocols.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season