Research Summaries Research Summary 22 Coping with Injury - Page 4
Helping Players Cope with the Stress of Injury
Helping players with feelings of isolation
As noted previously, players can feel isolated if injury
means they cannot fully participate with the rest of the
group. This causes stress, which coaches can help
overcome by maintaining a positive support network
around the individual, starting with themselves and the
The researchers note the role of the coach is firstly to
provide emotional, informational and tangible support.
Emotional support includes listening without judgement,
and showing care and compassion to the individual,
reiterating that they remain a valuable member of the
team despite the injury. Informational support is more
closely linked to the injury. The coach can acknowledge
the work the injured player is putting into their recovery,
and provide advice and guidance, drawing on their own
experiences of coping with similar situations.
Finally, tangible support could take the form of a book or
online article featuring an inspirational athlete who
overcame similar injury problem s in the past.
The idea is that the support provided by the coach is
supplemented by support from parents. Coaches can
firstly inform parents of the importance of the injured
player continuing to attend training and matches to
remain a part of the team. They can also encourage
parents to be the sounding board for the player’s
recovery process as it is unlikely they will want to discuss
their recovery with teammates or the coach. The softball
player featured in the original article found this
particularly helpful when she wanted to talk about her
recovery and ‘just get it out’.
Coaches who maintain this positive support structure
will help minimise stress and aid player recovery.