A story of loss and gain: Exploring student-athletes' experiences with injury through photovoice


Athletes' experiences with injuries is a broad and widely studied topic (Granito, 2002; Lu & Hsu, 2013; Wadey et al., 2011). However, little is known about the impact injuries have on student-athletes. The unique experiences associated with student-athletes' need to balance both a strong athletic identity and an academic career provides a novel perspective in the area of athletic injury. Using the photovoice method along with semi-structured interviews, the aim of this study was to capture student-athletes' experiences of serious injury. The study looked at nine recently-injured, competitive athletes from various Varsity sports. Themes and patterns concerning loss of identity, balance, and freedom, as well as gaining new appreciation, a different perspective, and stronger social support emerged from both the pictures and interviews. These new insights on the emotional and psychological experiences of injured student-athletes will serve to fill the gap in the current litterature as well as inform coaches, teammates, consultants, and clinicians on the deeper impacts of injury and how to help minimize the losses and maximize the gains.