Psychological Risk Factors for Injury

Shauna Ericksen is doing her Ph.D. work on the Psychological Risk factors that contribute to injury.

Eli Kassab joins the Sports Medicine Broadcast again as we discus mental health.

Psychological Risk Factors for Injury; Shauna Ericksen; Joshua Tree

Shauna, you are quite active and adventurous, what are some of the ways you stay active?

I was moving from Oregon to Montreal and decided to make a mountain biking trip out of the journey.

Moab is legendary and so we decided to do it. Coming down off a boulder I got off balance and landed on a tree hanging over the cliff. Sprained my knee in the process.

Did a self-evaluation and realized I needed to ride down the mountain.  I had to cut the trip short, luckily I was headed to work an AT event where my colleagues evaluate the injured knee.

What got you into the Psychological Risk Factors of injury prevention?

Shauna joined a free course online to grow her mindfulness and improve happiness.

Shauna had been asked to deliver a mindfulness talk to her colleagues.

It is all about the history of our stressors (upbringing, previous injuries, health, nutrition)

Has the mindfulness translated to your practice?

It helps in her coaching and one on one strength training.

It allows her to pick up on emotion and open up the dialogue.

Allows them to critically think about and process the stresses

“How is work going at home”

“Are your parents able to help?” 

“I traveled around with a hypnotist for a summer”

Halloween at the theme park -> went to a hypnotist show

Shauna was the volunteer

Mom ordered some hypnotist CDs

Mom offered Shauna’s assistance

Then traveled with her for a summer.

She may have been one of the biggest influences in the career choice and style of treating athletes with a mental IQ.

Making it commonplace to talk about emotions was huge for me as a practitioner

“Why can you not just tell me something is wrong” – coaches treat them differently when they are injured or hurt physically or emotionally.

I have seen athletes go from 0-100 in their head really quick…oh no, I’ll never play again…

Let’s not skip straight to the end of the book and read chapters 1, 2, 3.

We need to use our tools to help them focus on the here and now.

We have to be cautious with our playful banter and acknowledge their perceptions.

Encourage them to be open and honest with their emotions about the injury.

How are you using that in your practice as an Athletic Trainer?

It is extremely important for us as ATs to look at mindfulness.

It is not everyone’s strong suit but we can learn to be emotionally mindful

Teach them to express their factors without being judgemental.

We need to practice mindfulness and good mental health practices.

Discuss some of the more interesting/shocking finds 

Last year I wrote a critically appraised paper and submitted it about the psychological risk factors.

4 constructs and how they correlate to injury outcomes.

Some research has ID’ed at-risk athletes but are geared towards all athletes not just the ones at risk.

The realm of intervening to reduce injury risk is all new.

video, cognitive awareness, imagery are tools used to help reduce injury.

Overuse injuries are the most common associated with Psychological Risk Factors.

How long was the research for that paper?

Started in January and submitted in July

Have you seen anything with COVID and Psychological risk factors?

It has changed a lot, data is not as accurate since people are not playing sports, not exposed to the AT staff, practicing on their own

The initial thought would be reduced injury risk due to lower volume.

Instead, we shifted to treat this as an official offseason to train them to use mindfulness, sleep, eat, and hydrate properly.

There is a catastrophe mindset and we do need to implement the mindfulness.

My biggest goal is going to be how can I help other AT to incorporate these into their injury practices.

Data shows this works if you do the work, in the beginning, the athlete will be healthier longer.

Contact Us

Shauna – IG: mvmt.matters

Eli Kassab –  IG: elikassab 

Jeremy – IG: Sports Medicine Broadcast

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