Sep 19, 2017
Psychology of Injury: Part 2
Timothy Neal

Click here to read part 1, which covers what athletic trainers should say and do immediately following an injury.

Once an athlete sustains a time-loss injury, they often go through a five-step grieving process. Those steps are (with some examples from an athlete who tore their ACL):

• Denial: “I couldn’t have torn my ACL. My knee feels fine.” (They say as the knee starts to balloon from swelling.)

• Anger: “After all of that offseason conditioning I did, and someone falls into my knee! That is bull $–*!

• Bargaining: “”I just have to get back on the field. If I work an extra hour a day


Timothy Neal, MS, AT, ATC, CCISM, is Assistant Professor and Program Director of Athletic Training Education at Concordia University Ann Arbor. Previously, he spent more than 30 years at Syracuse University, serving in a variety of sports medicine roles. He can be reached at: [email protected].


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