Psychosocial Considerations of the Return to Sport Following Injury

Leslie Podlog, Robert Eklund

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter

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“I had lost a lot of confidence during the long layoff. And for a long time after I returned, I still held back. All I could think about was protecting my knee from another injury.”Earvin “Magic” Johnson (cited in Taylor & Taylor, 1997, p. 273)As Magic Johnson’s quote suggests, returning to sport following a serious injury may be a difficult transition for athletes. Too often, however, coaches, practitioners, and athletes equate psychological readiness to resume sport participation with physical readiness. Research over the past ten years indicates that this assumption may be inaccurate (e.g., Bianco, 2001). Athletes’ psychological reactions to their return to sport may have important implications for their subjective well-being and their return-to-sport outcomes (e.g., confidence levels, quality of performances). Consequently, the purpose of this chapter is to examine the psychosocial issues associated with the return-to-sport transition following serious injury. We begin by examining two conceptual models—the biopsychosocial model and the stages of Return to Sport Model—that have been used to describe the return to sport following serious injury. We then discuss some of the empirical literature that has examined the psychosocial stressors associated with the return to sport, drawing from our recent qualitative research involving high performance athletes (Podlog & Eklund, 2006) and coaches (Podlog & Eklund, in press). Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings and offer strategies for clinicians, coaches, and practitioners aiming to prevent and/or reduce athlete stressors during the return-to-sport transition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychological Bases of Sport Injuries
EditorsDavid Pargman
Place of PublicationMorgantown, West Virginia
PublisherFitness Information Technology
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781885693754
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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    Podlog, L., & Eklund, R. (2007). Psychosocial Considerations of the Return to Sport Following Injury. In D. Pargman (Ed.), Psychological Bases of Sport Injuries (3 ed., pp. 109-130). [7] Fitness Information Technology.