Psychosocial impact of career-ending injuries in professional ice hockey players : a qualitative study
Injuries are a regular occurrence amongst athletes, and on occasion so severe as to impact the continuation an athlete’s career. Retirement from sport, in any circumstances can be a difficult transition for an athlete, particularly when participation in sport has formed a significant part of their identity, personality, and life as a whole. Research in this area is limited, as existing studies focus on injury and career termination separately. Thus, the purpose of this study was to document the lived experiences of professional ice hockey players who have encountered career-ending sports injuries. Three former professional Finnish ice hockey players participated in this study, all of who had played in Finland’s top ice hockey league (Liiga). Data were collected through individual, semi-structured interviews. Following prolonged engagement and transcription, the data were analysed in accordance to guidelines for interpretative phenomenological analysis. The findings of this study present the challenges the participants went through during their injury experiences and career transition processes. Key aspects involved in a successful transition out of sport included developing a more balanced self-identity, access to social support and gaining financial stability. Through self-reflection, participants were able to form identities that did not revolve solely around their athletic careers. For example, they came to value personal development and family over the ability to keep playing at the professional level. Spouses, doctors and physiotherapists were the most influential providers of beneficial social support. In contrast, proceedings with insurance companies hindered participants’ transition processes by limiting career retraining options and adding complications in terms of gaining financial security. These findings may assist professionals involved in injury rehabilitation to better understand the psychosocial impact that career-ending injuries have on individual athletes. For instance, they could help athletes to better manage this transition by implementing pre-retirement planning or giving them opportunities to discuss concerns with a sport psychologist. Future studies could expand on this research by using larger samples, and by examining different sports, cultural contexts and female participants. ...
MetadataShow full item record
- Pro gradu -tutkielmat