Background: Professional rugby is an aggressive sport. Consequently, injuries are an inevitable part of a rugby player’s career. It is therefore crucial for sports medicine professionals to understand the subjective experience of injured athletes in order to optimize their care. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to take a lifeworld perspective to explore how living with injury was meaningful to professional rugby players. Methods: A purposive sample of five participants were recruited and data collection undertaken via semi-structured interviews. Audio-recordings were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis methodology to develop the themes. Findings: Three master themes emerged from the analysis, each comprising of two subthemes; 1) Sense of Uncertainty (1a. Fear of the Unknown, 1b. Lack of Control), 2) Experienced Change in Relationships (2a. Lived Human Relations, 2b. Coping), 3) Sense of Self (3a. Isolation and Belonging, 3b. ‘’Being” an Athlete). Conclusion: Participants described the challenge to their sense of self and ‘being’ athletes’, as the isolation from the team deprived them of their sense of belonging. Participants illustrated the experienced significance of their relationships, the uncertainty over their lives and the unique strategies to cope. Emotions of anxiety, grief, anger, and shock reverberate throughout their accounts.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Physiotherapy Theory and Practice on 5/10/2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09593985.2020.1825578
- sense of self