Temporal patterning of stressors experienced by elite rugby players during injury rehabilitation
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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In recent years there has been an increasing awareness of psychological responses to injury and the injury process as a whole. Previous research has shown how injury can elicit a number of stressors and emotional responses. However, there has been limited temporal research into stressors experienced by injured athletes. The purpose of this study was to explore the stressors and emotional responses experienced by athletes during the three phases of injury: onset of injury, rehabilitation and return to sport. Six semi structured interviews were conducted, followed by a within case analysis of each interview and subsequently across case analysis of the interview data as a whole. This type of analysis was conducted to identify key quotations and emerging themes from the data. The findings of this study supported (Quinn and Fallon, 1999) who found that generally, the trend in emotions reported reflected a move from negative to positive responses over time as a result of this stressors diminish and are easier to cope with. At the initial onset of injury the most prevalent responses were anger, frustration, confusion, low self confidence, shock and fear/worry. In the initial phase the most widely reported stressor was pain. During the rehabilitation phase of injury the most prevalent responses were frustration, anger, low self confidence and fear/worry. In this phase the most commonly cited stressors were pain, concern over missed opportunities and medical concerns. In the final phase of injury, the return to sport, the most commonly reported responses were low self confidence and anxiety this resulted in the participants experiencing the stressor of re-injury.
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