Example Sports Essay

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Injured Athletes Use of Self-Talk.

A sports injury can be serious and cause profound physical and emotional distress. The physical aspects of the injury can even contribute to loss of a sports career. The emotional stress of a sports injury can result in affects such as anxiety and depression which result in obstacles to healing and future performance (Myers, Peyton & Jensen, 2004). After injury most athletes will suffer from a change in their mood for a short length of time. This change in mood will manifest as anger, depression, tension, and low energy levels. Normally the athlete returns to their pre-injury mental status once they are on their way to recovery (McDonald & Hardy, 1990) Sports injuries can have a devastating impact on athletes and the search for effective psychological rehabilitation methods have been ongoing. One study using the open-ended Sports Injury Survey found that athletes that healed the fastest engaged in more positive self-talk, goal setting and healing imagery than slower healing athletes. It was found that the mental strategy of goal setting was the most productive technique and scientists believe the reason for this is that it is easy to learn and is within the athlete’s control. The results of the study would suggest that there are numerous psychological factors that play an important role in injury recovery. A number of other studies have demonstrated that speed of recovery was effected by goal setting, attitude, imagery, social support, and coping skills (Ievleva & Orlick,1991). One study demonstrated that imagery can be helpful in injury rehabilitation. Imagery is used often in training and competition, but athletes don’t use it as often for recovery from healing and need to be reminded of its efficacy (Sordoni, Hall & Forwell, 2000) It has been found that an athlete’s inability to return to pre-injury performance levels was due to psychological factors and stressors rather than physical ones (Evans, Harding & Fleming, 2000). One of the factors with an impact on performance levels post-injury is the athlete’s perceived inability to demonstrate the same skills they enjoyed pre-injury. One example of this isa rugby player who returned to the game after suffering a shoulder injury. He favoured the injured shoulder and used the other shoulder more frequently. The result of this behaviour was that he put extra pressure on the one shoulder setting himself up for future injuries (Evans et al., 2000). When an athlete returns to the game before they are truly ready the risk for more injures or re-injury is increased. Even if an athlete has been told by his sports physician that they can return to competition they may not be ready psychologically (Evans et al., 2000). Cupal (1998) claims evidence exists that indicates when an athlete returns to the sport before they are psychologically ready they increase the risk of more injuries There are different approaches to explaining how an athlete responds to injury. One of these approaches is designated the cognitive appraisal approach. This approach focuses on the athlete’s perception of the injury and it offers an explanation for individual differences in responses to injury and their perception of the injury (Brewer,

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