The Injured Athlete Performance Program: A Holistic Approach to Continued Physical and Mental Well-Being During Injury
Taryn Morgan, IMG Academy, USA
Angus Mugford, IMG Academy, USA
Joshua Lifrak, IMG Academy, USA
Poster Number: 116
Program ID: POS-2
Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Nearly 44 million children participate in youth sports, with more than 4.3 million under age 14 receiving medical treatment for injuries each year (Geier, 2011). These injuries can take a toll on both the physical and mental well-being of youth athletes (Wiese-Bjornstal, Smith, Shaffer & Morrey, 2008), but can also present a unique opportunity for sport psychology practitioners to positively impact recovery and long-term learning. Researchers have noted that psychological skills such as imagery, goal setting, relaxation, and self-talk can have a positive effect on healing (Cupal & Brewer, 2001; Driediger, Hall & Callow, 2006; Ievleva & Orlick, 1991). Cupal (1998) noted that practitioners need to deliver a holistic, supportive package adapted to each athlete to best promote well-being and recovery. In our own work at a youth sports academy, we noticed that many athletes were becoming injured, which sometimes resulted in departure, loss of morale, decreased confidence and a lack of activities to do while injured. Once the athletic trainers, strength coaches and mental conditioning coaches noticed how this was negatively impacting the well-being of the athletes, an Injured Athlete Performance Program (IAPP) was developed. The IAPP utilizes the time the athlete was training in sport to provide a holistic, systemized approach to injury rehabilitation that includes a weekly program of formal and informal sports therapy and rehabilitation, modified strength and conditioning, mental conditioning, vision training, nutrition education, and leadership training. The overall program development, as well as the specifics of the mental conditioning component of the IAPP will be shared. The IAPP focuses on fostering established mental skills such as goal setting, imagery, positive self-talk, and energy management to aid in injury recovery, return to play and overall mental well-being, but has also incorporated innovative learning techniques via technology, which will be discussed during the presentation.