Soccer Injuries: The Psychological Response | STACK

Soccer Injuries: The Psychological Response

March 16, 2013 | Davie Carmichael

Must See Soccer Videos

The majority of competitive soccer players suffer an injury at some point in their careers. Each soccer injury is unique, presenting its own set of complications, limitations, physical and mental obstacles, rehabilitation periods, traumas and outcomes. (See 5 Stages of Injury Recovery.)

Many players' self-concepts and self-esteem are built upon the foundation of their soccer identity. When soccer players sustain injuries and are forced to take breaks from training and competition, their self-worth is placed in jeopardy, threatening an essential element of their overall personal and psychological well being. (See Fear Holds You Back In Overcoming an Injury.)

Following an injury, a variety of psychological reactions ensue. As coaches, we must know about these responses and recognize the signs that a player is negatively affected. Successful rehabilitation depends on dealing with the many psychological factors that can affect the quality and speed of a player's recovery. Although individuals vary in their reaction to injury, most soccer players to go through three stages of psychological response—injury-specific processing; emotional turmoil and sensitive behavior; and positive attitude and management.

Injury-Specific Processing

At first, players tend to focus on the pain, the extent of the injury and any negative consequences or immediate setbacks it may have caused. They question how the injury happened and ask what they could have done differently to avoid it. Depending on the severity of the injury, the player may experience episodes of fear about the uncertainty about their soccer future, the ability to fully recover, future injuries and regaining their position in the team.

Emotional Turmoil and Sensitive Behavior

Emotional responses to a soccer injury can include denial, disbelief and self-pity coupled with mood disruptions due to increased stress, anxiety and depression.

Positive Attitude and Management

The soccer player accepts the injury and starts to demonstrate a more optimistic and positive outlook in an attempt to move through the healing process. When players confront their injuries constructively, they create cognitive evaluations of the challenges they face and devise a plan for overcoming them. (See 3 Steps to Coming Back Better From an Injury.)

Importance of Sports Medicine Professionals/Psychologists

Sports medicine professionals and sport psychologists can assist athletes in coping with their reactions to soccer injuries. They do everything from professional rehabilitation and education to helping players explore other aspects of their personalities. In particular, sport psychologists assist athletes with goal setting. They help to determine injury rehabilitation goals that are ambitious but still realistic and within reach. Such goals should be intrinsically motivating for the soccer player. Most sports psychologists set intermediate and short-term goals that are process-oriented and build towards the overall goal in stages. It is extremely important that injured players seek help from sports medicine professionals to recover and return to their sport with a healthy body and mind.

Topics: SOCCER
David Carmichael
- David Carmichael is the head coach of the men's STORM soccer program at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. A native of Scotland, he earned...
David Carmichael
- David Carmichael is the head coach of the men's STORM soccer program at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. A native of Scotland, he earned...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

In-Game Nutrition for Soccer Athletes

USA's Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi Talk World Cup

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

Will Joel Embiid Be Able to Succeed in the NBA?

Morgan Maroney Is a Soccer Standout on the Rise

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

How Sporting Kansas City Stays 'Sporting Fit'

adidas FIFA World Cup Chant Challenge

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Maintaining Your Lower-Body Strength After Tommy John Surgery

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Mia Hamm Rewrites the Record Books to #WINFROMWITHIN

2014 Summer Training Program: Soccer

Improve Your Soccer Intelligence

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Should Pitchers Ice After Throwing to Prevent Shoulder Injuries?

How Cristiano Ronaldo Can Defeat the Witch Doctor's Curse

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Soccer Players: Kick Hip Flexor Pain

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Tommy John Surgery 10 Times More Common Than a Decade Ago

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

Recruiting Tips for High School Soccer Players

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Introducing the adiZero F50 Messi TRX FG

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

Can Soccer Lead to Brain Trauma?

Increase Your Soccer Speed With 4 Sprint Drills

Does Loss of Sleep Have Same Effects as Sports Head Injuries?

4 Exercises to Fix Bad Posture and Help You Move Better

Male Soccer Players More Prone to Hamstring Strains

How to Avoid Softball Pitching Injuries

How to Protect Yourself From Heat Stroke This Summer

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

2 Drills to Improve Late-Game Soccer Ball Handling

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

3 Reasons to Correct Your Weak Links to Prevent Common Injuries

The New Rules for Cryotherapy: Why You're Icing Wrong

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

3 Ways to Protect Your Knees and Prevent ACL Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Nike Releases Images of U.S. Men's World Cup Uniform

Why Your Shin Splints Aren't Really Shin Splints

Tim Howard's Shutout Workout

Why a Sports Hernia Won't Ruin Jadeveon Clowney's Rookie Season

The Secret to Tim Howard's Success

adidas Releases New Golden Adizero F50 FG Messi Cleat

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

Graham Zusi Talks About Life After the World Cup

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

How to Train With Shin Splints

Basketball Prehab: Exercises for 4 Trouble Spots

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Recruiting Advice: Summer Soccer ID Camps

Soccer Summer Training Guide 2013

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises