Athletes’ Expectations About Sport Injury Rehabilitation: A Cross-Cultural Study
Arvinen-Barrow M, Clement D, Hamson-Utley JJ, Kaphoff C, Zakrajsek R, Lee S, Hemmings B, Lintunen T, and Martin SB. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2015.
Take Home Message: The culture of a sport or country of origin may influence an athlete’s expectations towards sports medicine professionals during rehabilitation.
During rehabilitation, athletes may have high expectations of the clinician, rehabilitation/recovery process, and rehabilitation environment. A patient’s expectations could influence their outcomes of a rehabilitation program. These expectations can vary from athlete to athlete and can be influenced by various factors including the athlete’s country of origin, gender, and sport played. The authors investigated if an athlete’s expectations about sports injury rehabilitation varied by their country of residence and type of sport (physical contact or not). The Expectations about Athletic Training (EAAT) questionnaire, was created by the authors and given to collegiate athletes in the United States (US) and collegiate, professional, and recreational athletes in the United Kingdom (UK) and Finland (1209 participating athletes). The authors found differences between countries of what an athlete expects from themselves and a sports medicine professional, but the athletes from different countries have similar expectations within each sport. US athletes expected more from rehabilitation and their own role in the process compared with athletes from the UK and Finland. Furthermore, US athletes had higher expectations for clinicians to be honest, sincere, warm, accepting, trusting, etc. The authors found that a sports culture (contact sports versus non-contact sport) is also a strong influence on expectations. For example, an athlete in a sport with physical contact had higher expectancies of sports medicine professionals than a non-physical contact athlete.
Sports medical professionals need to know and understand each of their athlete’s expectations when creating the best rehabilitation program. Research has shown that injured athletes feel that their healthcare provider should acknowledge and understand their differences whether it be race, gender, country of origin, or sport played. Athletes that play sports in the United States place a higher importance on rehabilitation and the part they play in the process than that of the United Kingdom and Finland. This may be because the United States has more intense and competitive sports programs in the high school and collegiate levels. Though athletes that play sports in the United States expect more from their clinicians, the relationship between sports type (contact vs. non-contact) and expectations of clinicians remain about the same throughout different countries. Athletes that play in contact sports such as football and basketball have higher expectations of their clinician’s expertise than the non-contact athletes. Sports medicine professionals need to be able to acknowledge and understand their athletes’ differences such as race, gender, country of origin, and the type of sport they play. Secondly, clinicians need to be able to demonstrate their expertise in the recovery process to ensure that they meet the injured athlete’s expectations especially when working with contact athletes.
Question for Discussion: Should sports medicine professionals have the same expectations for contact athletes as they do non-contact athletes during rehabilitation? Should a sports medicine clinician from the US adjust their social tendencies to fit their population in a different country if that country has different expectations than US athletes?
Written by: Darrell Thompson & Virginia Lintot
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Driban
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Arvinen-Barrow M, Clement D, Hamson-Utley JJ, Kaphof C, Zakrajsek R, Lee SM, Hemmings B, Lintunen T, & Martin SB (2015). Athletes' Expectations About Sport Injury Rehabilitation: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation PMID: 26353160