Are athletes “psychologically ready” for sport injury rehabilitation?
Damien Clement, West Virginia University, USA
Program ID: SYM-06
Presentation: October 3, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am
Room: Oak Alley
Sport injuries are typically viewed by athletes as “unnecessary time away from sport”, “a hindrance” or a “set-back”. They are usually experiences that athletes are trying to avoid, and often present athletes with situations which may require modifications in their daily routines/lifestyle. Research has shown that some athletes often present with psychosocial responses which, in some cases, impede their progress through rehabilitation (Tracey, 2003; Johnson & Carroll, 1998). During rehabilitation, athletes are often required to engage in new behaviors (e.g., change in daily routines and activities, new exercise regimes), as well as being personally committed to, and ready for, the process. However, it seems that athletes are often transitioned into the injury rehabilitation with very little consideration given to their psychological readiness for this phase of the injury recovery process (Clement, 2008). As such, Clement (2009) suggested that it may be worthwhile to consider assessing athletes’ psychological readiness for this stage of the injury recovery process prior to their commencement of injury rehabilitation. What’s more, sport injury rehabilitation can be likened to a behavior change and psychological readiness can be assessed using the Transtheoretical model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983), which has provided an excellent framework for helping researchers and practitioners understand behavior change. It is argued that in order to determine an injured athlete’s readiness for injury rehabilitation, their stage of change, processes of change, self-efficacy, and decisional balance must all be assessed (Clement, 2009). Based on the results obtained from the aforementioned assessments, relevant members of the sport medicine team would be able to implement the necessary interventions or even facilitate a referral if warranted depending on the athlete’s psychological readiness. This presentation will apply the Transtheoretical model within the context of injury rehabilitation. Furthermore, possible interventions, based on the varying degrees of psychological readiness, will also be presented.