“What does not kill us, makes us stronger”: Do injured athletes really experience growth?
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The notion of growth following adversity is an often-celebrated storyline championed in sport. It is illustrated by athletes’ accounts of overcoming injury and returning physically and mentally stronger. In this chapter, we examine the complex phenomenon that is growth, how it has been conceptualized and what it encompasses. In exploring growth following a sport injury, against the backdrop of the wider growth literature, the issue of whether the growth reported from injury actually occurred requires critical consideration as two pertinent issues need to be addressed: Is a sporting injury traumatic enough to generate growth? Are the domains of growth following injury reflective of actual growth or are they merely representative of a protective coping mechanism or adherence to a cultural script? We conclude by considering the methodological designs of future programs of research and providing readers with a new set of questions with which to continue the pursuit of uncovering this complex phenomenon. These questions aim to encourage practitioners, coaches and researchers to reflect on salient issues which if addressed would best facilitate athletes in managing and developing from their injury-related experiences.
Howells, K. & Everard, C. (2020). “What does not kill us, makes us stronger”: Do injured athletes really experience growth? In R. Wadey (Ed.). Critical Perspectives In Sport Injury Psychology. Routledge (forthcoming).
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