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Professional Sports Injured Athletes And Early Retirement

1630 words - 7 pages

Injured Athletes and Early Retirement

  The rise to become a professional athlete requires passion, dedication and years of preparation. To play a sport at such a high competitive level and intensity the athlete must be in excellent physical and mental health. Athlete's of "Magic" Johnson's and Bo Jackson's caliber had the dedication and determination to be the best. The negative feelings the athlete endures after injury or illness is overwhelming and can lead to early retirement, but if this all they invested in; most have not thought a lot about a career after sports. The athlete and the aftermath of injury or illness that leads them to retirement is a difficult issue. For those readers who are injured or suffer from a debilitating illness that prevents further participation in your sport you are not alone. Scientists and physicians are working hard to resolve the problem of early retirement due to injuries.


The emotional pain comes later for the athlete who has been injured during play. This pain is realized when the athlete is soaking and icing, their dislocated joints, bones and torn muscles. After a while, distress sets in as they consider the prospect of lost participation in their sport, says sports psychologist Albert Petitpas, Ed.D, of Springfield College, an expert on rehabilitating injured athletes. "They become anxious or confused, wondering whether they can ever play again and what they would do if they could not. Serious clinical problems, such as depression, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies, may ensue", says Petitpas (p.1, APA Monitor) . His research suggests that 5 to 13 percent of injured athletes who develop clinical distress, are those who most identified strongly with the sport and who of had a career ending injury. Being a athlete myself, I know how an injury can effect you psychologically. I never was in the professional ranks and had to count on professional sports as a way of life. But, on the high school level, I remember how injury or illness effected my peers. They too became depressed and angry; they wondered if it was all over for them. A lot of the times rehabilitation was an option. They would after suffering a knee injury seek physical therapy (rehab) to bring strength back into the knee to permit them to play. If therapy did not work other stressors would develop.


There are four main reasons why the injury of the professional athlete makes recovery problematic: the withdrawal from friends, former teammates and family, the excessive talk about their accomplishments, the mood changes, and the indifference towards their injury. This is the time, I found in my study to be of great importance. Elite athletes who sustain a chronic injury score in the realm of groups that have experienced a natural disaster on the impact of event scale (IES), a psychometric measure used to assess the effect of trauma, according to...

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