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  • Steven Berry

Sport Psychology and Injury Rehabilitation

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Weinberg and Gould (2015) define athletic injury as trauma to the body that results in at least temporary (but sometimes permanent) physical disability and inhibition of motor function. What is interesting is that sport psychology has looked at helping athletes with injuries via several processes and factors.

Causes of injuries may include physical factors, social factors (e.g. the culture of masculinity and playing through pain, even when rest would heal an injury quicker), psychological factors (e.g. stress and/or poor sleep hygiene), and personality factors (Weinberg & Gould, 2015).

In addition to understanding the causes of injury, so that injuries might be prevented, sport psychology research and application has looked at injury in the following areas: psychological reactions to injury, pain management, poor adjustment to injury, and adherence to sport injury rehabilitation routines (Weinberg & Gould, 2015).

Several studies have highlighted that athletes who receive psychological interventions heal at a rate that is much quicker than average. In fact, one studied showed that athletes who used various psychological skills such as more goal-setting, positive self-talk, and more healing imagery, healed at a rate twice as fast as those athletes who used minimal psychological skills (Ievleva & Orlick, 1991). There are ways to use your mind to heal more quickly!

There are several factors to understand around utilizing imagery for increased healing rates. Understanding what imagery is, utilizing current research findings, and understanding how to use imagery in the most effective way for injuries is key for a successful speedier rehabilitation. Here, pain management imagery and healing imagery are just a couple of the avenues available. Developing a solid imagery script matters (Dworsky & Krane, 2020).

I am looking forward to helping more athletes recover from injuries in the near future via applied sport psychology. Please take care, thanks for reading, and please do not hesitate to contact me in the future. Let's heal you or your loved ones up with the quickness...well, quicker than average and that's a scientific fact!


Dworsky & Krane (2020). Using the Mind to Heal the Body: Imagery for Injury Rehabilitation. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Retrieved from:

Ievleva & Orlick (1991). Mental Links to Enhanced Healing. The Sport Psychologist, 5(1), 25-40.

Wienberg & Gould (2015). Athletic Injuries and Psychology. Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Champaign: IL. Human Kinetics.

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