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Helping dual career athletes to recover from injury: a dual career support providers’ (DCSPs’) perspective
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), Health and Sport.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6198-0784
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2017 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction

The combination of elite sport and study, called a dual career (DC), can be challenging for athletes. DC Athletes can encounter co-occurring challenges at different domains of development (athletic, psychological, psychosocial, educational/vocational and financial) (Wylleman & Lavallee, 2004). In this challenging period and environment, the burden of an injury is likely to be stressful for DC athletes. Although previous research have looked at how sports stakeholders can support the athletes within the athletic domain, no research up to our knowledge addressed how elite athletes can be supported holistically (i.e. in the different domains of development) outside of the club context. Therefore, current research aimed at gathering good practices of holistic support for DC athletes from a dual career support provider (DCSP) perspective.

Methods

Within the ‘Gold in education and Elite Sport’ (GEES) project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, focus groups were conducted with a selection of DCSPs. As inclusion criterion for the participants, a DCSP was defined as: ‘a professional consultant, related to an educational institute and/or an elite sport organization – or certified by one of those – that provides support to elite athletes in view of optimizing their DC (combination of elite sport and education).’ One focus group in Sweden with six DCSPs and two focus groups in Belgium with two and three DCSPs were held. Using a phenomenological approach, participants were asked to share their methods used to holistically support DC athletes in coping with an injury.

Results

Five main themes of support emerged from the DCSPs discussions: a) practical support (e.g. support with transport problems if necessary), b) emotional support (e.g. empathic listening), c) reframing the injury in a holistic perspective (e.g. athletes will have more time for studies and family), d) empowerment of self-regulation competences (e.g. encourage the use of a recovery agenda), e) multidisciplinary and multi-organizations’ cooperation (e.g. structural meetings between different DC stakeholders).

Conclusion

Findings underscore the importance of a developmental and empowering approach in holistically supporting DC athletes to recover from an injury. Moreover, the cooperation between stakeholders in a DC support environment is crucial for an optimal recovery. Future research and practice could use current findings to develop injury recovery programs in a DC setting.

References

Wylleman P, Lavallee D. (2004). A Developmental Perspective on Transitions Faced by Athletes. In M Weis (Ed.), Developmental sport psychology. Morgantown, WV: Fitness International Technology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-34655OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-34655DiVA: diva2:1128189
Conference
22nd Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS): Sport Science in a Metropolitan Area, Essen, Germany, 5th-8th July, 2017
Available from: 2017-07-23 Created: 2017-07-23 Last updated: 2017-08-07Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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