"Put me back in the game…! ": Does the athletic theraPIst's motivation for providing treatment impact athlete's experiences during rehabilitation following injury?


Objectives: This study extended research by Deck et al. (2018) by evaluating athlete's experiences during rehabilitation following a sports injury as a function of the motivational orientation displayed by the athletic therapist providing treatment. Drawing from Wild et al. (1998), this study compared the effects of receiving treatment for an injury from an intrinsically versus extrinsically motivated athletic therapist on boredom, anxiety, and pressure reported by athletes during treatment. Methods: Using a post-test only design, athletes (N = 48; Mage = 19.87±2.24 years; 66.70% female) were randomized to one of two groups that manipulated the intrinsic/extrinsic motives reported by the athletic therapist for treating an injured athlete using vignettes. Boredom, anxiety, and pressure reported in-treatment by injured athletes were assessed using single-items adapted from Ryan and Deci (2017). Results: Multivariate Analysis of Variance indicated statistical differences between groups (Pillai's Trace = 0.20; F(3, 44) = 3.57; p = .02; ?2 = 0.20). Higher boredom (F = 3.38; p = .07) and more pressure (F = 6.81; p = .01) were reported when the athletic therapist was extrinsically motivated to provide treatment (?2 = 0.07 to 0.13). No statistical differences in anxiety were reported during treatment across groups (F = 0.76; p = 0.39). Discussion: Overall, the results of this study extend previous sport injury research (Deck et al., 2018) by demonstrating that athletic therapists approaching treatment for extrinsic reasons may adversely effect select in-treatment experiences for injured athletes which may have implications for treatment success and return-to-sport following injury.