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Exploring the psychological aspects of sport injury
Exploring the psychological aspects of sport injury

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2 Injury and psychology

So why are we interested in the psychological aspects of injury? Intuitively we tend to think of sport injury as a physical experience, but sport injury also has various psychological aspects. Before you start to investigate the research and theory around the psychological aspects of sport injury, you’ll first examine your own thoughts on the potential links.

Activity 2 Early thoughts – psychological aspects of injury

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

If you have suffered from a sport injury in the past, think about some of the thoughts, feelings and behaviours you experienced before you were injured (antecedents) and after you were injured (responses). Make a list of these psychological aspects of your injury experience in the table below.

Text boxes are provided in all activities. You can use these to note down your answers to the questions. Once you click Save, your answers will be stored and you can return to them at any point to view or amend your response. Your responses will only be visible to you. However, if you would prefer to make notes using pen and paper or a different format you can. We have added one or two examples to help you.

If you haven’t experienced a sport injury yourself, instead try to think of someone you know who has been injured (e.g. an athlete you coach, an exercise participant, friend, partner or famous sportsperson). Reflect on how they behaved around the time they were injured and how they said their injury made them feel at the time.

Table 1 Thoughts feelings and behaviours
Before injury (antecedents) After injury (responses)
E.g. Anxiety
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E.g. Anger
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Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Reflecting on your own experiences (or those around you) is often a good place to start when identifying the links between injury and psychology. There are no right or wrong answers to this question as everyone’s experience of injury is slightly different, so below are just a few examples of aspects you may have identified.

  • Before injury: People tend to find it more difficult to identify the psychological aspects that are present before an injury than those that occur after injury. You may have thought about high levels of stress or feelings of fear or anxiety you were experiencing before an injury occurred – these may have increased your risk of being injured through changes in focus or technique.
  • After injury: You may have thought about particular feelings that you (or the person you chose) experienced in response to being injured such as anger or frustration, or you might have thought about particular behaviours you exhibited such as poor adherence to your rehabilitation programme.

Having looked at your own experiences of sport injury, you will now move on to look at the experiences of the two case study examples, Lois and Travis.