Sport injury and illness: elite skiers describe their experiences

Res Q Exerc Sport. 1999 Jun;70(2):157-69. doi: 10.1080/02701367.1999.10608033.


Injury and illness pose significant physical and psychological challenges for competitive athletes. The present study examined the psychological processes associated with injury and illness among elite skiers. Twelve members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team who had recovered from a serious sport injury or debilitating illness were interviewed for the study. Inductive analyses of interview transcripts revealed that the experience of sport injury and athlete illness spanned three distinct phases, namely, the injury-illness phase, the rehabilitation-recovery phase, and the return to full activity phase. In addition, it was found that each phase was marked by a series of events that caused the skiers varying degrees of distress. This article traces the skiers' psychological journey from injury and illness through recovery, with an emphasis on factors contributing to stress and the strategies used to manage stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skiing / injuries*
  • Skiing / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological