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Carl Turner, Jonathan Rhodes, Darren Crocker, Karol Nedza, and Jon May

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a debilitating condition affecting the autonomic nervous system that causes a series of symptoms, such as blurred vision, brain fog, chest pain, headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, syncope, and rapid heart rate. These symptoms can lead to diminished daily activity, daytime fatigue, poor sleep quality, and increased suicidal tendencies. Among the physical symptoms, POTS patients present decreased quality of life, increased prevalence of depression, and elevated anxiety. This case study documents an interdisciplinary approach to treating a 39-year-old female POTS patient with an 8-week intervention program and a further 4-week follow-up. The intervention investigated the combined effects of Functional Imagery Training and physical exercise on the patient’s quality of life. Following completion of the program, the subject improved in all four quality-of-life components, and this change was maintained over time when compared with baseline measures. The program demonstrated that high levels of exercise adherence beyond the intervention can be achieved when combining Functional Imagery Training and exercise, regardless of the exercise-intolerant characteristics presented by a POTS patient.

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Jonathan Rhodes, Jon May, Jackie Andrade, and David Kavanagh

Functional imagery training (FIT) extends multisensory imagery training by involving athletes with goal setting and appraisal. The authors measured the effect of FIT on 24 professional soccer players’ grit, a personality trait associated with perseverance for a long-term goal. In a stepped-wedge design, an immediate (n = 9) and a delayed (n = 10) group received FIT at Week 1 or 6 and were measured at Week 12. A self-selected control group (n = 5) received no intervention. The delayed group was also measured at Week 6 just before their intervention, and at Week 18. Grit scores in both intervention groups increased after the intervention, but the control group’s did not. The delayed group increased in grit between Weeks 6 and 12, showing the effectiveness of the intervention over a relatively short time, and continued to improve to Week 18. In the intervention groups, vividness of goal imagery also increased and players perceived that FIT improved sport performance.