Table 3

Main codes and related quotes on the theme ‘sports injury prevention is a learning process’

Trial and error ‘Experience, yes; some competitions you do 30 s sprints and in other competitions you do a sprint of 2 min. Then, it is experience: OK, how do I feel when I start the competition? So, I’m not trying anymore, I know what is the best way now. Or sometimes you are too late for a good warm-up and you experience: ‘OK, it could be that way too! It’s good!’. It’s just about experience.’ Athlete 2
‘Because it is a trial and error, when you are young you get some injuries. After that, you realise that you can also prevent it or at least prevent that it gets worse, or prevent that you have to quit at all. So, I think along the way you also learn how to catch it earlier and sometimes you don’t have to quit at all, but you just have to take one step back and you can continue on your initial level.’ Athlete 3
Experience of years of training ‘When I was younger I was used to ignore the pain and just keep training. So, I didn’t pay enough attention to my body, for example, make it loose, to work on my neck, so in that way, injuries could be prevented.’ Athlete 7
‘I’ve been training for about 10 years now, I think during those 10 years I learnt, what I should do and what I shouldn’t do.’ Athlete 5
‘Now, I listen to my body a lot better, better than five or 10 years ago. So, if I have an injury, I make sure that I treat that properly and also, I rather prevent things. If I start to feel something, I will check it. and in the past, was not always ok.’ Athlete 8
‘When you are a really experienced, like Roger Federer, he is in tennis for years, already on top of the tour, he knows his body after such a long time. When he thinks he needs some rest, I believe that he needs some rest because he is experienced.’ Physiotherapist 1
Learning from previous injuries ‘The thing that helps them to do (injury prevention) is the injury itself. When they have been injured, they see much more the necessity to do it (injury prevention).’ Coach 4
‘At higher level, you are on a learning curve. Top athletes need to know and understand how they can train without being injured. It might be people who are more talented, that didn’t reach the top. Many people have more talent than I do, but it’s also about how you can prevent injuries and learn how to listen to your body.’ Athlete 9
‘I guess you just want to play all the time. You don’t want to miss a game or miss anything in a tournament and you try really hard to be the best you can be, and injuries minimise that, or cost time. I think if you have an injury or if you see people around you (getting injured), you become more cautious and even more motivated to prevent future injuries.’ Athlete 3
‘Sometimes, I think you have to have an injury to learn more about your body.’ Physiotherapist 2