Research Summaries Research Summary 22 Coping with Injury - Page 2
Helping Players Cope with the Stress of Injury
Introduction – musculoskeletal injury stressors
The new research on which this summary is based focuses on high school athletes in America who experience
musculoskeletal injuries (injuries or pain in the body’s joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons and structures that
support limbs, the neck and the back).
The researchers clearly state that the treatment of these injuries and any health-related advice are, of course, the
role of healthcare professionals and not the coach. However, they identify a number of stressors that these injuries
can cause, which coaches can help to alleviate by helping their players adopt a range of coping strategies.
While the research is relevant for coaches in any sport, it is particularly applicable for team sports as a number of
the strategies require the involvement of the whole group, rather than just the injured individual.
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The four musculoskeletal injury stressors featured in this new research are temporary physical restrictions, feelings of
isolation, rehabilitation process, and anxiety about pain and re-injury. Each stressor and the associated strategies for
coaches are explored in more detail in this summary, using a real-life example of a young softball player who badly
injured her shoulder during a match.