Psychological readiness is related to return to sport in judo injuries

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Lambert, C., Guenther, D., Schütz, LM. et al. Psychological readiness is related to return to sport in judo injuries: a cross-sectional study. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil 15, 20 (2023).


Background: The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of a judoka’s psychological readiness in relation to his ability to return to sport. At the present time, the relationship between physical and psychological readiness to return to sport has not been adequately elucidated.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study. An online survey was distributed via social networks and the German Judo Association collecting data from competitive and recreational judo athletes. The survey collected data on participants’ characteristics, history of injury, and psychological readiness to return to sport after injury as determined by either the Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Return to Sport after Injury Scale, the Shoulder Instability-Return to Sport after Injury Scale, or a modified version of the Return to Sport after Injury Scale depending on the respective type of injury.

Results: The study included 383 judo athletes (272 competitive judo athletes and 112 recreational judo athletes). Regardless of injury location, athletes who achieved return to sports (M = 70.67; SD = 16.47) had higher RSI scores than athletes that did not return to sports (M = 53.88; SD = 19.12; p < 0.0001). Male athletes (M = 65.60; SD = 19.34) did show significantly higher RSI scores than female athletes (M = 60.45; SD = 19.46). The RSI score differed for different time loss categories, F(7, 375) = 11.309, p < 0.001, η2 = .174 with decreasing RSI scores for longer time loss and lowest RSI scores in athletes, who never returned to sports. RSI scores of athletes with knee injuries differed from athletes with other injury locations (10.23, 95% CI [4.08, 16.38]). After adjusting for time loss due to injury, competitive athletes had higher RSI scores than competitive athletes (F (1, 382) = 7.250, p < 0.001, partial η2 = .02). Conservatively treated athletes (M = 66.58; SD = 18.54) had higher RSI scores than surgically treated athletes (M = 59.05; SD = 20.01; p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Based on the data of this study, type of injury, sport level, treatment method, and gender appear to influence psychological readiness on judoka and their ability to return to sport. The multiple factors that influence a judoka and their ability to return to sport argue for individualized treatment of judoka and their psychological state after injury in the return to sport process.

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