Psychological involvement in injuries : LUSENET : APA Division 47 Exercise and Sport Psychology : One Thread

I was wondering if injuries could be involved in any way with a subconcouis worry. For example, if you have been injured, and go back to play constantly thinking of the injury, are you more likley to reinjure than someone who does not think of it. Could a fear of injuries prevent injuries or provoke them. Is it normal to be afraid of returning to high impact sports after a serious injury such as a dislocated knee. If so, what are things I can do to lessen my fear.

Sincerely, peg-leg

-- matthew hinchey (, February 17, 2000



The simple aspect of your question to answer is Yes, it is very normal to be afraid or worrying about returning to your sport after an injury. This is true for all sports not just body contact ones. However there is a problem for contact sport athletes if this worry leads to hesitancy on the field - when athletes in contact sport try to protect themselves from injury by holding back they are more likely to have injry inflicted on them. This comes down to physics - if you are going to tackle a player who is coming toward you fast, you would normally approach at a maximum speed to effect the tackle, the contact is then shared between the two players- if you approach hesitantly then it is likely that you will bear most of the contact!

A second point and this is more my field - stress, anxiety or worry is a predisposing factor to injury. To find out more about this look for Anderson and Williams 1988 paper - A model of stress and athletic injury:PRediction and prevention. Journal of sport and Exerecise Psychology 10, 294-306.

As well as being a factor that contributes to injury, stress or high anxiety slows healing and recovery.

I would recommend a few things - work on reducing the occurence of stress and anxiety - use relaxation breathing or relaxation techniques - most relaxation audio tapes will work ok. Focus yourself on the positive aspects of performing you sport - use mental imagery to relive good performances, those that make you feel really strong and confident in your sport. Great tackles you have made or points scored - remember what it felt like for you and how others reacted, the sounds, the smell, everything in as much detail as possible. Once you are good at recalling these images use them when you start to feel afraid to return to your sport.

If you want more info, email me directly.

cheers adam

-- adam hall (, February 28, 2000.

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