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

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
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself: Psychological Factors Related to Return to SportPost-injury

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