Case Study of a Female Competitive Mountain Bike Racer With Multiple Sclerosis

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects 2.1 million people world-wide. There is no cure but an expanding body of research suggests that physical activity can have a positive impact on the symptoms of MS. This case study was designed as a view into the life experiences of one woman’s journey with MS as a competitive athlete, focusing on how psychological skills aid her in conquering her challenges. The participant was a 51-year old competitive mountain bike racer who was diagnosed with MS as a teenager. A postpositivist approach using a series of in-depth, conversational interviews explored the role athletics has played in her life and specifically in helping her live with MS. The interviews focused on the psychological skills the participant used to deal with her sport and MS. Results suggest that resilience, resulting from self-efficacy, goal setting, and a positive outlook, is the key to her success, and that her participation in athletics strengthens those positive characteristics. Findings may be helpful to both sport psychology and medical professionals who work with individuals with MS.

Fasczewski is with the Department of Health & Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA. Gill is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA.

Address author correspondence to Fasczewski at fasczewskiks@appstate.edu.
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