Publication Date

Spring 2021


School of Health Sciences


Exercise Science: Therapeutic


injury rehabilitation, sports medicine, psychosocial, athletic identity


Rehabilitation and Therapy


The psychological and emotional impact of sustaining a long-term injury to elite athletes demonstrates the need for an improved rehabilitative approach in sports medicine. Sports medicine is a healthcare profession that requires regular interaction with other people, specifically athletes, medical training as well as knowledge of human and sport psychology. Within the current model of sports rehabilitation practices, decisions pertaining to the timeline and progression of elite athletes’ recovery are based primarily on the physical damage from injury. Unfortunately, the focus often remains solely on the physical injury, disregarding an athlete’s psychosocial responses, which limits sports medicine professionals’ ability to provide holistic care. The rehabilitation of long-term injuries of elite athletes necessitates an aggressive approach, which demands significant commitment and effort by both the sports medicine staff and athlete over an extended time period. There are many factors that are involved and must be considered during this process; however, the importance of the psychosocial considerations tend to be overlooked. Thus, there is a gap present in the rehabilitation process that limits elite athletes’ ability to confidently return to sport physically, emotionally and psychologically.