Lived Experiences of an Elite Performance Management Team Through Injury Rehabilitation: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Objectives: Injury is a common and challenging experience for many athletes, and return-to-sport outcomes have been persistently poor despite advancements in research and practice. To ameliorate this challenge and to bridge a gap that exists in the sport injury literature between theoretical conceptualization and intervention design, research is needed to explore team-based approaches to professional practice. The current study aimed to begin this work through exploration of a single performance management team (PMT) through 2 injury and rehabilitation cases leading into and across the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Design: Qualitative, interpretative phenomenological analysis. Method: Interviews were conducted with the 5 members of the PMT (coach, physiotherapist, sport psychology consultant, case manager, and athlete) involved in both injury cases. Lower-order and higher order themes were identified and interpreted through the extent literature. Results: Results indicate that 3 higher order themes interacted to impact the lived experiences of the PMT members across the 2 injury cases. Participants described the sociocultural context that surrounded the team, the individual struggles they faced, and the functioning of the team as the primary contributors to their lived experiences as well as observed rehabilitation outcomes. Conclusions: Findings of this study mirror previous research in team science within the general health care domain, and prompt ongoing exploration of how to improve the experiences for PMT members as well as rehabilitation and return-to-sport outcomes for athletes.

Hess is with the School of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA. Meyer is with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

Hess (cwhess@stanford.edu) is corresponding author.
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