Introduction to the psychology of sport injuries
In society today, sport can form an important part of the ways in which an individual identifies themselves, how they interact with one another and reflect on their position amongst those around them. According to the Council of Europe (2001), the term sport refers to ‘all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels’. At its best, sport can provide opportunities for physical, psychological and economic growth, and be a vehicle for providing exciting, challenging, rewarding and memorable experiences for all those involved. Despite such positive benefits, unfortunately some experiences gained through sport are in fact the opposite (Brown, 2005). Involvement in sport frequently places the participants under immense physical and psychological pressure and stress,which in turn amplifies the likelihood of negative outcomes, such as injuries. Although injuries are an experience that athletes are trying to avoid (Pargman, 1999), virtually all athletes will experience an injury that can temporarily (or permanently) impede any subsequent sport participation (Taylor and Taylor, 1997). In fact, Brown (2005) argues that ‘serious athletes come in two varieties: those who have been injured, and those who have not been injured yet’.