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Sport psychology and concussion: new impacts to explore
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  1. G A Bloom1,
  2. A S Horton1,
  3. P McCrory2,
  4. K M Johnston1
  1. 1McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  2. 2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Johnston
 Department of Neurosurgery, Kinesiology & Physical Education, McGill University, McGill Sport Medicine Centre, 475 Pine Ave West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2W 1S4; Karen.Johnston{at}mcgill.ca

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In recent years, there has been great interest in examining the psychological effects of athletic injuries. This has also extended to interventions in which coping strategies have been suggested to enhance recovery. Concussive injuries, which are common to many sports, hold particular problems in this regard. For example, a concussed athlete may be prone to experience isolation, pain, anxiety, and disruption of daily life as a result of the injury. This may be a problem for individual sport athletes—for example, professional skiers—who do not have the support of team mates to help them through their rehabilitation and recovery, as well as team sport athletes whose team mates may inadvertently pressure them to return to play.

Besides the physical loss resulting from an injury, there may also be psychological distress. Commonly reported emotion responses resulting from athletic injury have included anger, denial, depression, distress, bargaining, shock, and guilt.1–5 These are particularly seen in career ending injuries. Such emotional distress can negatively affect the athletes’ recovery process.

“…concussed athletes in team sports seem to have fewer long term problems”

Injured athletes have also reported feelings of isolation and loneliness. Researchers found that athletes prevented from participating in their activity have lost contact with their team, coach, and friends.6,7 For example, Gould et al6 examined the emotional reactions of US national team skiers to season ending injuries and found that 66.6% cited lack of attention and isolation as a source of stress during their injury. …

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