Psychological rehabilitation in response to physical injury is of primary concern to athletes, trainers, coaches, and sport psychologists. To date, there is little empirical research to shed light on this topic, as well as on the role of sport psychology practitioners in facilitating the prevention, rehabilitation, and recovery from athletic injuries. The purpose of this paper is to consolidate and report the information available on the nature of injuries and make suggestions concerning the application of sport psychology principles when working with injured athletes. Four major concerns are addressed with regard to current knowledge and practical implications: how injuries happen, how athletes respond to injuries, how psychological rehabilitation as well as physical recovery from injuries can be facilitated, and determining when injured athletes are psychologically ready to return to competition.
Diane M. Wiese and Maureen R. Weiss are with the Department of Physical Education, Esslinger Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.