Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sport Injury Psychology

In a recent article in the SIRC Collection Dr. John Heil talks about the "10 Challenges" faced by the injured and recovering athlete, and the psychological tools that can help the athlete meet these challenges. He suggests that by approaching injury rehabilitation as part of the game that an athlete must play, the athlete can transfer sport skills to their rehabilitation. The following are the ten challenges he describes:

  • Challenge 1: Knowing the Game. Knowing the “how” and “why” of rehab engages the athlete in the process.
  • Challenge 2: Identifying Goals. Understanding the “how” of rehab invests the athlete in the process.
  • Challenge 3: Visualizing the Plan. “See, believe & achieve”.
  • Challenge 4: Focusing on Thinking. Thinking about the right thing, at the right time, in the right way.
  • Challenge 5: Managing Emotions. Channeling and modulating emotions (positive and negative) energizes rehabilitation.
  • Challenge 6: Playing with Pain. Differentiate performance pain from injury and adjust accordingly.
  • Challenge 7: Training with Intensity. Working smarter through physiological conditioning (intensity) and biomechanical precision.
  • Challenge 8: Calculating Risk. Decision-making based upon knowledge of ability, intensity and pain.
  • Challenge 9: Staying Mentally Tough. Turning negative momentum into positive by having the courage to take control of what can be controlled (personal thoughts, feelings, and actions).
  • Challenge 10: Self-Actualizing. Personal growth and development in the pursuit of excellence.

While meeting these challenges can help an injured athlete face their recovery with a sense of purpose and direction, they are also applicable to anyone facing adversity and looking for a positive way to move forward.

Order the full article from SIRC: Heil, John (2009). Sport Psychology and the Injured Athlete. American Fencing, 59(3), 30.


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