Return to Sport after Serious Injury: A Retrospective Examination of Motivation and Psychological Outcomes

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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It is argued in self-determination theory that the motivation underlying behavior has implications for health and well-being independent of the behavior itself.


To examine associations between athlete motivations for returning to sport after injury and perceived psychological return-to-sport outcomes.


A correlational survey design was employed to obtain data in Canada, Australia, and England.


Elite and subelite athletes (N = 180) with injuries requiring a minimum 2-month absence from sport participation.

Main Outcome Measures:

Participants completed an inventory measuring perceptions of motivation to return to sport from a serious injury and psychological return-to-sport outcomes.


Correlational analyses revealed that intrinsic motivations for returning to competition were associated with a positive renewed perspective on sport participation. Conversely, extrinsic motivations for returning to sport were associated with increased worry and concern.


The motivation underlying return to sport might play an important role in return-to-sport perceptions among elite and subelite athletes.

The authors are with the School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia.

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