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Injury as a career transition : Experiences of a Swedish elite handball player

Ivarsson, Andreas, Stambulova, Natalia, Johnson, Urban

Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)


This single-subject case study adopted a narrative approach and focused on two objectives: (a) to explore an athlete’s career development, including the impact of injuries, and (b) to explore that athlete’s injury experiences in detail. The participant was a 26-year-old former elite handball player who had experienced two major anterior cruciate ligament injuries during his career. To guide the research process from the formulation of its objectives to the interpretation of the participant’s narratives, we followed the narrative-oriented inquiry framework. To collect the participant’s stories, a low-structured interview guide consisting of open questions and requests for information about the participant’s handball career and injury experiences was used. The holistic content analysis allowed us to conceptualise injuries as career transition processes embedded in the athlete’s career development. Moreover, the participant’s narratives made it possible to identify four phases of injury transition and the distinct psychological content (demands, resources, barriers, and coping strategies) relevant to each of the four phases. Based on the results of the study, we anticipate that athletes, sport psychology consultants, coaches, and members of sport medicine teams can benefit from greater awareness of the specific demands and barriers relevant to each phase of the injury transition process. This knowledge can be further used to facilitate the development of adequate resources and coping strategies to help injured athletes navigate the rehabilitation process and successfully return to active sport involvement. © 2016 International Society of Sport Psychology

Nyckelord: athlete career development; athletic injury; handball; narratives; single-subject case study; transition

Citera: Ivarsson, Andreas, Stambulova, Natalia & Johnson, Urban, Injury as a career transition: Experiences of a Swedish elite handball player, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology., 16:4, s. 365-381, 2018