Injured athletes use of self-talk.
A sports injury can be serious andcause profound physical and emotional distress. The physical aspects of theinjury can even contribute to loss of a sports career. The emotional stress ofa sports injury can result in affects such as anxiety and depression which resultin obstacles to healing and future performance (Myers,Peyton & Jensen, 2004). After injury most athletes will suffer from a changein their mood for a short length of time. This change in mood will manifest asanger, depression, tension, and low energy levels. Normally the athletereturns to their pre-injury mental status once they are on their way torecovery (McDonald & Hardy, 1990)
Sports injuries can have adevastating impact on athletes and the search for effective psychologicalrehabilitation methods have been ongoing. One study using the open-ended SportsInjury Survey found that athletes that healed the fastest engaged in more positiveself-talk, goal setting and healing imagery than slower healing athletes. Itwas found that the mental strategy of goal setting was the most productivetechnique and scientists believe the reason for this is that it is easy tolearn and is within the athlete's control. The results of the study wouldsuggest that there are numerous psychological factors that play an importantrole in injury recovery. A number of other studieshave demonstrated that speed of recovery was effected by goal setting,attitude, imagery, social support, and coping skills (Ievleva & Orlick,1991). One study demonstrated that imagerycan be helpful in injury rehabilitation. Imagery is used often in training andcompetition, but athletes don't use it as often for recovery from healing andneed to be reminded of its efficacy (Sordoni, Hall & Forwell, 2000)
It has been found that an athlete's inability to return topre-injury performance levels was due to psychological factors and stressors ratherthan physical ones (Evans, Harding & Fleming,2000). One of the factors with animpact on performance levels post-injury is the athlete's perceived inabilityto demonstrate the same skills they enjoyed pre-injury. One example of this isa rugby player who returned to the game after suffering a shoulder injury. Hefavored the injured shoulder and used the other shoulder more frequently. Theresult of this behavior was that he put extra pressure on the one shouldersetting himself up for future injuries (Evans et al.,2000). When an athlete returns to the game before they are truly readythe risk for more injures or re-injury is increased. Even if an athlete hasbeen told by his sports physician that they can return to competition they maynot be ready psychologically (Evans et al., 2000). Cupal(1998) claims evidence exists that indicates when an athlete returns to thesport before they are psychologically ready they increase the risk of moreinjuries
There are different approaches to explaining howan athlete responds to injury. One of these approaches is designated thecognitive appraisal approach. This approach focuses on the athlete'sperception of the injury and it offers an explanation for individualdifferences in responses to injury and their perception of the injury (Brewer, 1994). Brewer (1994) believes that one of the positive aspectsregarding the cognitive appraisal approach is that it offers explanations forthe diverse responses to injuries unlike other methods that don't provide suchinsight. There are a number of influencing factors with cognitiveappraisal. The individual personality characteristics of the athlete thatremain constant over time are a factor. Another factor is the athlete's changeablesituation which they have no control of. One example of this is time of seasonof the injury (Gayman & Crossman, 2003).
A study of thepsychology of season ending injuries amongst skiers from the USA Ski Team wasconducted (Gould, Udry, Bridges & Beck, 1997a; Gould, Udry, Bridges &Beck, 1997b). This study included lengthy interviews and...
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