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50 Years of Research on the Psychology of Sport Injury: A Consensus Statement.

Sports Medicine 2024 June 12
Factors influencing sport injury risk, rehabilitation outcomes, and return to sport processes have been the focus in various research disciplines (sports medicine, psychology and sociology). One discipline, with over 50 years of scholarship, is the psychology of sport injury. Despite the research in this field, there is no evidence-based consensus to inform professional practice. The aim of this original and timely consensus statement is to summarise psychological sport injury research and provide consensus recommendations for sport practitioners seeking to implement psychological principles into clinical practice. A total of seven experts with extensive experience outlined the consensus objectives and identified three psychology of sport injury sub-domains: risk, rehabilitation and return to sport. The researchers, grouped in pairs, prepared initial drafts of assigned sub-domains. The group met in Stockholm, and the three texts were merged into a draft and revised in an iterative process. Stress responses are the strongest psychological risk factor for acute injuries. Intra- and interpersonal factors, as well as sociocultural factors, are demonstrated psychosocial risk factors for overuse injuries. Stress management and mindfulness interventions to prevent injuries have been successfully implemented. The rehabilitation process may influence athlete's cognitive, emotional, and behavioural responses. Social support, mindfulness, acceptance-based practices, and cognitive-behavioural based intervention programs reduce negative reactions. Return to sport includes various stages and different trajectories. Returning athletes typically experience concerns regarding competence, autonomy, and relatedness. It is recommended that athletes focus on the physical, technical, and psychological demands of their sport as they progress to increasingly intense activities. Interdisciplinary collaboration (e.g., sports medicine and psychology) would be beneficial in enhancing clinical practice and improving athlete outcomes.

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