Time Loss and Fear of Re-injury in Athletes after Return to Participation

Jamie Deitrick, Michigan State University, USA

Theme: Injury/trauma/rehabilitation

Program ID: LEC-01C

Presentation: October 2, 2013 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Room: Belle Chasse


Fear of re-injury is a common reason cited by athletes for reduction or complete cessation of participation in sport. Re-injury fears can also be a prominent source of stress when returning to competition. The purpose of this study was to determine if athletes who have been cleared to participate following injury have a fear of re-injury and to examine the difference in fear of re-injury by injury severity group (e.g., minor, moderate, major injury). Three hundred and fifty-two NCAA Division I athletes (20.6+1.4 years) from 2 Big Ten Universities participated in this study. Athletes completed a fear of re-injury survey within 1 week of returning to participation. Injuries were classified as “minor” for time loss less than 1 week (1-6 days), “moderate” for time loss of 1–3 weeks (7-21 days), and ‘‘major’’ for time loss greater than 3 weeks. Fear of re-injury was measured by self-report of fear on a 10-point scale. A between injury severity group (minor, moderate, major) analysis of variance was performed to determine if any differences existed on fear of re-injury. Injuries were fairly evenly distributed by injury severity with 179 (34.9%) minor, 138 (26.9%) moderate and 196 (38.4%) major injuries. There is a significant main effect for injury severity group on fear of re-injury (F (3, 510) = 14.2, p<0.001). Major injuries produced a significantly greater fear of re-injury among injured athletes than moderate (p<0.001) and minor (p<0.001) injuries. Moreover, 14% of injuries resulted in moderate or severe fear of re-injury among injured athletes. Results from this study lend support to previous research and indicate re-injury fears continue after athletes return to play and therefore must be considered when addressing rehabilitation in injured athletes. In addition, injury severity was found to be a component in re-injury fears in athletes.

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