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 player’s parents. 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.