The Provision of Social Support to Injured Athletes: A Qualitative Analysis

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Twelve seriously injured athletes were asked to describe the provision of eight functional types of support during their rehabilitation. NUD*IST (Nonnumerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing) was used to organize the data. Overall, the provision of social support largely matched demand. Emotional and practical forms of support decreased with time, while varieties of informational support were increasingly received and preferred over time. The provision of informational and emotional support appeared to be dictated by four temporally sequential appraisals: injury severity, rehabilitation progress, recovery/readiness to return, and sports performance. Practical support in the form of personal assistance greatly depended upon the visibility of the injury and the mobility of the injured athlete. Physiotherapists, doctors, and other currently or previously injured athletes were most likely to provide informational support requiring expert medical knowledge, whereas coaches provided informational support requiring sport-specific expertise. Friends and family were the main source of emotional and practical support. The situational and temporal context of the provision of support is represented diagrammatically.

Lynne Halley Johnston is with the Department of Leisure Management, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, Swindon Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ, UK. Douglas Carroll is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.

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