SCS Home Study Course: Chapter 3

Psychological Contributions to Sports Injuries


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Gail C. Freidhoff, PT, MA,T, SCS, ATC-L

Lexington, KY


Gordon Eiland, PT, SC, ATC-L

Tyler, TX



By the end of this chapter, the reader will be able to:

1.  Identify the psychological predictors/precursors of injury, signs of poor coping and/or stress overload, and support strategies to improve

     coping and injury prevention.

2.  Discuss patterns of normal and sub-normal responses to injury.

3.  Describe the role of the coach, parent and therapist in the support strategies in injury response.

4.  Identify factors affecting the athlete's approach to rehab.

5.  Identify signs the athlete is not ready to return to sport.

6.  Describe the role of the sports psychologist and when to refer the athlete to a professional.

7.  Discuss the psychological scales that can be used in identifying potential problems.



I.    Psychological contributions to injuries in sports

      a.  Psychological predictors and precursors of


      b.    Signs of poor coping ability and/or stress


      c.  Support strategies to improve coping and

            injury prevention


II.  Psychological and emotional responses to injury

      a.  Patterns of normal and sub-optimal responses

            to injury

      b.   Signs of poor or negative response to injury

      c.  Support strategies to improve response to


            1.  Role of the coach

            2.  Role of the parent

            3.  Role of the therapist

            4.  Age and gender considerations

III. Psychological issues and rehabilitation

      a.  Factors affecting the athlete's approach to


      b.   Signs of a negative approach to rehabilitation

            and recovery

      c.  Support strategies to improve the

           psychological approach to rehabilitation


IV.  Psychological factors and return to play

      a.   Psychological readiness for return to play

      b.   Signs the athlete is not psychologically ready

            to return to play

      c.  Support strategies to encourage a safe return


V.   Role of the sports psychologist; when to refer

      a.  Negative emotional patterns

      b.   Prolonged depression/withdrawal

      c.  Unrealistic expectations, either positive or



VI.  Summary

      a.  Factors contributing to injuries

            1.  Controlled

            2.  Uncontrolled

      b.   Psychological scales used pre-season to

            identify potential problems


The completion of this course does not guarantee that the purchaser will pass the SCS examination.