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Sports Injury Psychology

Sports Injury Psychology. David Smith MS ATC Sports Medicine 1. Injury. When the body is injured the mind is also affected Research shows that athletes who experience negative response to injury have a longer and more difficult recovery

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Sports Injury Psychology

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  1. Sports Injury Psychology David Smith MS ATC Sports Medicine 1

  2. Injury • When the body is injured the mind is also affected • Research shows that athletes who experience negative response to injury have a longer and more difficult recovery • The nature of interaction with the coach, teammates, friends and ATC affect recovery either +/- • We must pay attention to the athletes MIND as well as their body to help them return to play

  3. How to Treat an Injured Athlete • Psychologically the athlete will be devastated after major injury • Keep athlete as involved as possible during rehab • Must be positive in your approach at all times • Set Goals (Daily, Weekly, Monthly..)

  4. How to Treat an Injured Athlete • Never Lie to the athlete • Let them know they are making progress • Never let them feel sorry for themselves • Know who you are dealing with

  5. Psychological Reaction to Loss or Injury • Denial • Anger • Bargaining • Depression • Acceptance

  6. Emotional First Aid • Normal Reaction • Be calm and reassuring • Over Reaction • Allow athlete to vent • Under Reaction • Be empathetic • Encourage them to talk and express feelings

  7. Psychological Response based on Length of Rehab • Short (<4 weeks) • Reaction to Injury is Shock and Relief • Reaction to Rehab is Impatience and Optimism • Reaction to Return is Eagerness and Anticipation

  8. Long (> 4 Weeks) • Reaction to Injury is Fear and Anger • Reaction to Rehab is Loss of Interest, Irrational Thoughts and Alienation • Reaction to Return is acknowledgement

  9. Chronic (Recurring) • Reaction to Injury is Anger and Frustration • Reaction to Rehab is either a Dependence or Independence • Reaction to Return is Confident or Skeptical

  10. Termination (Career Ending) • Reaction to Injury is Isolation and a Grief Process • Reaction to Rehab is Loss of Athletic Identity • Reaction to Not Returning is Closure and Renewal Example of Mark at UNM with ACL Injury

  11. Considerations for the Coach • A coaches perception of the athlete makes a difference in that athletes recovery time and effort to come back • The coach needs to listen to the athlete beyond the complaining • Should listen for anger, depression or anxiety in their voice and actions

  12. Considerations for the Coach • Neglected athletes or treating them like “outcasts” can contribute to an injury or re-injury. • Coaches who treat their players like they have no self worth when injured are not received well • Some coaches refuse to talk to the athlete or tell his teammates that he is “soft” or that he/she doesn’t want to play or isn’t tough enough

  13. Return to Play • Coaches need to help the athlete when returning to play after injury not hinder them • It is the toughest part of the rehab process and the athlete will need encouragement

  14. Return to Play • “you have to play with pain”? • “Give it up for the sport or my team”? • “I’m Invincible”? • Lack of this attitude may make them viewed as not being a team player or they are weak

  15. Things a Coach can do to help the Athletes • Establish a rapport with the athlete • Earn the athletes trust • Establish good communication • Have an interest in the athlete prior to injuries • Be a good listener

  16. Things a Coach can do to help the Athletes • Look the athletes in the eye to show listening • Don’t neglect or ignore the athletes • Facilitate social support of the team • Include the athlete in their feelings of return to play

  17. Predictors Of Injury 1) Injury Prone Athlete • Those who take risks • Traits tend to be reserved • Detached or tender minded • Apprehensive • Over Protective • Easily distracted players

  18. Predictors of Injury cont. 2) Stress • May be Positive or Negative • Positive are making all state team • Negative tend to lead to risk of injury • Negative examples are failing drug tests, not starting, costing the team the game

  19. Predictors of Injury cont. • These lead to lack of focus and increased muscle tension therefore leading to injury • Lack of Focus may lead to miscues • Increased Tension leads to pulls, tears or major injuries

  20. Observing Stress in Athletes • The coach is often the 1st to realize the athlete is becoming burned out, MUST back off!! • ATC must realize if the athlete enters the game or practice angry, frustrated or discouraged, can make them more prone to injury

  21. What Causes Stress? • Training too hard w/o rest (Overtraining) • Coach who is like a drill sergeant • Lack of positive reinforcement and encouragement • Negative statements • Unreasonable expectations by self, coach, parents, teammates

  22. Interventions for Stress Reduction • Unfortunately many coaches don’t have an interest in or ability to work with athletes who need help • Coaches of smaller teams may notice if one of the athletes is having problems.

  23. Interventions cont. • If they notice something wrong refer them to someone that can get them help. • Need to do this quietly so it is not made a team issue that may embarrass the athlete

  24. Using Buffers • Buffers are techniques that alleviate symptoms but do not address the problems. • Many athletes feel that the sport they play is the ONLY POSITIVE thing in their life!!

  25. Buffers cont. • This activity gets them through the tough times of extreme stress • Some buffers that may help are Relaxation techniques, imagery, exercise, reduction of caffeine, treatment for sleep disorders and time management programs.

  26. Relaxation Techniques • These allow athletes to control stress with a series of deep breathing, voluntary muscle contractions and relaxation exercises • Athletes that are coping well on own should not be forced into these exercises • We will do these relaxation techniques as a class

  27. Imagery • Imagery is the use of all senses to create or recreate an experience in the mind. • Visual rehearsal, emotive imagery rehearsal and body rehearsal • Athletes visualize their success in competition beginning with basic skills to game situations • Body rehearsal helps the athlete in their healing process • Not all athletes respond to this technique

  28. Create your own Imagery • We will now have you create your own imagery • I will give you some examples • Now write your own imagery and hand in • Write your name and period on it

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