Psychological experiences of athletes returning to competition following knee ligament injury: A comparison between contact and non-contact athletes.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of the study was to examine the psychological experiences athletes faced when returning to competition following a knee ligament injury in addition to making a comparison between contact and non-contact athletes. The main focus of the study was on athletes’ return to competition and a self-determination perspective was adopted. This research was conducted using a qualitative design and a semi-structured interview was used to collect the data. The sample consisted of eight athletes (n=4 contact and n=4 noncontact). To analyse the data, content analysis was initially used, followed by cross case analysis to identify differences between the groups. The research found that athletes in both, contact and non-contact sports had concerns about their competence, autonomy and relatedness when returning from injury. Specifically, the key thoughts that were experienced by the athletes were re-injury anxiety, fears of not returning to pre-injury levels and not reaching set goals. Additionally social support and the choice of when to return to sport were key areas that the athletes mentioned. The key difference found between the two groups concerned the fear of re-injury. Contact athletes feared a collision with their injured body part while non-contact athletes were concerned with the structural and functional aspects of the body part. These results underline the importance of satisfying the three basic needs of self-determination theory to gain positive return to sport outcomes.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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