High-Level South Korean Athletes’ Experiences of Injury and Rehabilitation

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Matthew P. Bejar University of Tennessee

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Leslee A. Fisher University of Tennessee

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Benjamin H. Nam University of Tennessee

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Leslie K. Larsen University of Tennessee

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Jamie M. Fynes Clemson University

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Rebecca A. Zakrajsek University of Tennessee

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Although the biopsychosocial model of sport injury rehabilitation (Brewer, Andersen, & Van Raalte, 2002) is one of the most comprehensive frameworks to address athletes’ postinjury responses, there has been little research centralizing the myriad of cultural factors (e.g., nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status) that can impact psychological, social/contextual, and biological factors that, in turn, impact athletes’ recovery. The purpose of the current study was to explore high-level South Korean athletes’ experiences of injury and rehabilitation. Retrospective semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 retired high-level South Korean athletes. Employing Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) methodology (Hill, 2012), four domains were constructed from the data: (a) Experience of the South Korean Sport System, (b) Immediate Post-Injury Perceptions, (c) Experience of Recovery Process, and (d) Post-Injury Reflections. The findings indicated that participants’ experiences of the forced hierarchy and power dynamics within the South Korean athletic specialist system influenced perceived sport injury rehabilitation outcomes.

Bejar, Fisher, Larsen, and Zakrajsek are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport Studies, and Nam the Dept. of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Fynes is with the Dept. of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.

Address author correspondence to Matthew P. Bejar at mbejar@vols.utk.edu.
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