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Return to Sport: Improving Athletes' Confidence and Mindset Post-ACL Surgery

Description: This study explored the impact of three psychological interventions over seven weeks - goal setting (GS), GS and imagery (IM), and GS and mindful self-compassion (MSC) - on 20 athletes' (Mage = 16.75 years) pain, cognitive appraisal, depression reinjury anxiety, psychological readiness to return to sport, and range of motion (ROM). IM and GS interventions have demonstrated initial effectiveness; however, no study has examined MSC in relation to post-ACL recovery. All athletes experienced significant decrease in pain (F(2) = 97.30, p = .000) from Week 1 to Week 7 and a significant increase in ROM from Week 2 to Week 7 (F(1) = 77.93, p = .000). All athletes experienced significantly higher depression at Week 1 compared to both Week 2 and Week 7 (F(2) = 9.01, p = .001), and significantly higher difficulty coping with their injury at Weeks 1 and 2 compared to Week 7 (F(2) = 6.32, p = .005). There were no statistically significant effects found between the intervention groups at Weeks 1, 2, and 7. However there were moderate effect sizes between interventions which suggest MSC and IM could help athletes cope with their injury during the first few weeks after surgery, and GS may contribute towards less depression at seven weeks post-surgery. Limitations include small sample size, low power, and use of self-report measures. Results have implications for orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and health professionals working with athletes recovering from serious sport injury.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Sheinbein, Shelly Thurlo
Partner: UNT Libraries