Athletes enter injury rehabilitation with certain expectations about the recovery process, outcomes, and the professional providing treatment. Their expectations influence the effectiveness of the assistance received and affect the overall rehabilitation process. Expectations may vary depending on numerous factors such as sport experience, gender, sport type, and cultural background. Unfortunately, limited information is available on athletes' expectations about sport-injury rehabilitation.
To examine possible differences in athletes' expectations about sport-injury rehabilitation based on their country of residence and type of sport (contact vs noncontact).
Recreational, college, and professional athletes from the US, UK, and Finland were surveyed.
Of the 1209 athletes ranging from 12 to 80 y of age (mean 23.46 ± 7.91), 529 US [80%], 253 UK [86%], and 199 Finnish [82%] athletes provided details of their geographical location and were included in the final analyses.
The Expectations About Athletic Training (EAAT) questionnaire was used to determine athletes' expectations about personal commitment, facilitative conditions, and the expertise of the sports-medicine professional (SMP).
A 3 × 2 MANCOVA revealed significant main effects for country (P = .0001, ?p(2) = .055) and sport type (P = .0001, ?p(2) = .023). Specifically, US athletes were found to have higher expectations of personal commitment and facilitative conditions than their UK and Finnish counterparts. Athletes participating in contact sports had higher expectations of facilitative conditions and the expertise of the SMP than did athletes participating in noncontact sports.
SMPs, especially those in the US, should consider the sport and environment when providing services. In addition, SMPs need to highlight and demonstrate their expertise during the rehabilitation process, especially for those who compete in contact sports.