Soccer Injuries: The Psychological Response | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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...
Must See
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 32,193,833
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 2,129,052
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 80,931

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 297,020
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Going into the gym is tough, and it is even more difficult to mentally muster up the strength to do so if you have an arm injury or hand injury. So if...

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

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

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

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

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

How to Train With Running Blisters

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain