Psychological Trauma: Unfortunate Experience in Athletics

Sport, a highly valued aspect of our culture, shapes the minds of athletes, organizers and spectators, as well as medical practitioners, partly because athletic injuries are an unfortunate part of modern sport today. Traumatic injury is defined as damage resulting in functional deficits and functional abnormalities at different levels of the CNS. Similarly, psychological trauma is defined as a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a traumatic event. A traumatic event involves a singular experience (i.e., a single episode of traumatic injury) or an enduring event (i.e., multiple traumas) or events that completely overwhelm the individual's ability to cope with or integrate the ideas and emotions involved with that experience. Psychological trauma in an athletic environment can be caused by a wide variety of events (e.g., previous traumatic injury, conflict with coaching staff etc.), but there are a few common aspects. It usually involves a whole complex of behavioral, cognitive and emotional sequelae, including a complete feeling of helplessness in the face of a real or subjective threat to life, bodily integrity, or sanity. Conventional wisdom is that mental problems in athletes are the direct consequences of physical trauma. However, it is important to note that psychological trauma may accompany physical trauma or exist independently of it.

Injury is an aspect of sport that has been highly evaluated and researched in recent years. Questions continuously arise as to whether or not traumatic injuries can be prevented? Or reduced? Or even predicted? These questions have plagued researchers, coaches, athletes, and doctors for some time. Unfortunately, we can say that injuries overall will never be 100% preventable because a combination of organism and environmental sources always poses uncontrollable threats to our bodies, no matter how much we redesign safety equipment and safety rules. The new question we are about to explore has to do with whether or not psychological trauma is linked to and caused by every injury, and whether or not this mental aspect of injury can be reduced, prevented or predicted.


Sport Participation Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Psychological Trauma Dispositional Optimism Explanatory Style 
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