Making sense of pain in boys' competitive minor hockey
LE3 .A278 2014
Bachelor of Kinesiology
Recent literature has identified that some children react to pain by both expecting it and accepting it as normal or ideal outcomes of sports. This harmful trend includes young athletes who learn to ‘shake it off’ and ignore pain’s important signaling and diagnostic features putting themselves at a higher risk for injury. The aim of the study was to identify some of the psychosocial factors that come into play when boys experience pain, and specifically how they attribute meaning to these events. The sample consisted of twelve male competitive hockey players aged 9-13 years old who volunteered to participate in small focus group sessions. The research design was based on both quantitative (individual questionnaires) and qualitative (semi-structured interview questions) data collection methods and four types of pain were examined: pain due to exertion or fatigue, acute pain, chronic pain and pain resulting from a head injury. The results of the study indicated that the understanding of pain became more advanced with age and that the boys engaged in sense making strategies that allowed them to play through pain. It was found that all boys were well informed about concussions and that many exercised a greater level of caution towards symptoms of a head injury compared to chronic pain or discomfort from exertion. This research suggests that educating athletes and adults about the implications of pain and injury both in and beyond the sport itself, will help to deconstruct the false sense of invulnerability the can be associated with being a competitive athlete.
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