It’s the athlete that counts: Placing the athlete in the center of the multidisciplinary care

Monna Arvinen-Barrow, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Theme: Injury/trauma/rehabilitation

Program ID: SYM-06

Presentation: October 3, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Oak Alley


When rehabilitating athletes with injuries, it is imperative to recognize the importance of athletes’ own role in the process. More specifically, a number of psychosocial techniques and assessment tools (e.g., goal setting and use of performance profiling) typically used in sport psychology consulting are based on the premise that “the athlete becomes central” and require great levels of personal involvement for successful implementation. As such, in order to increase motivation and personal commitment to rehabilitation (and subsequently increasing adherence and improving overall rehabilitation outcomes), an athlete should feel that their thoughts, emotions, and actions are valued and respected during the process. It is therefore proposed that when rehabilitating injured athletes, the athlete, along with their primary treatment provider(s) should be central in the rehabilitation process, thus forming the “primary rehabilitation team.” The secondary rehabilitation team should consist of range of professionals (e.g., sport psychology professionals, nutritionist, coaches and team mates) and significant others (e.g., family and friends) who are deemed necessary and relevant to the rehabilitation (Clement & Arvinen-Barrow, 2013). When placing the athlete at the center of the rehabilitation, and working as part of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team, it is also imperative to understand the roles and responsibilities of those involved. Often different professionals (e.g., athletic trainers) may work with the athlete in a “direct day to day relationship”, whereas others (e.g., sport psychologist, nutritionist) may work with the athlete directly (or indirectly) but on a more infrequent basis. This presentation will therefore introduce a model of multidisciplinary approach to sport injury rehabilitation, in which practical suggestions for implementing it in practice will also be presented.

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