A Pilot Study Investigating the Reasons for Playing Through Pain and Injury: Emerging Themes in Men’s and Women’s Collegiate Rugby

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • | 2 West Chester University
  • | 3 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
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Collegiate rugby is a competitive, collision sport, yet insufficient empirical evidence exists regarding participants’ perspectives on pain and injury. This study addressed male and female rugby players’ experiences with injury, and their views about playing through pain and injury. Eleven rugby players (five male; six female) competing in USA Rugby’s National College 7’s tournament participated in semistructured interviews, which were recorded, transcribed, and content-analyzed. Two major themes emerged: passion for sport and sport ethic. Passion for sport was composed of (a) love of the sport, (b) meaning of the sport, and (c) desire to be on the field. Sport ethic included: (a) helping the team, (b) game time sacrifice, (c) personality, (d) minimize, and (e) accepted behavior. The researchers explain these findings and propose strategies for increasing future athletes’ understanding of the dangers associated with playing through pain, and confronting the currently accepted culture of risk.

Madrigal is with the Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska. Robbins was with the Dept. of Kinesiology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA, and is now with the Physical Education and Health Education Dept., Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC. Gill and Wurst are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.

Address author correspondence to Leilani Madrigal at lmadrigal@huskers.com.
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