The perceived benefits of sport injury and the underlying mechanisms that enable athletes to elicit such benefits
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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This study aimed to examine the perceived positive impact sports injury can have on athletes. Specifically, the study examined the perceived long-term benefits of sports injury and the underlying mechanisms that enabled athletes to elicit such benefits. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 male team athletes (aged 21.7± 1.8 years) of varying levels of participation ranging from club level to national level. All athletes had experienced a severe injury whilst training or during competition. Interview transcripts were analysed using content analysis procedures. Findings revealed that relative to the perceived benefits of injury, 80 raw data themes emerged generating three general dimensions: (a) Personal Benefits (e.g. clarified priorities), (b) Psychological Benefits (e.g. became mentally tougher), and (c) Physical/Technical Benefits (e.g. technically better). Several perceived underlying mechanisms emerged to suggest how athletes were able to elicit the reported benefits, which included: (a) use of reflective practice and (b) social support. Findings suggest that in order for athletes to gain benefits from their injury experience they must actively engage in the rehabilitation process (e.g., by use of reflective practice) and receive necessary support from those within their social network. Future research is required to enhance knowledge and understanding of the perceived underlying mechanisms that enable athletes to benefit from sports injury.
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