Athletes’ willingness to communicate pain to their coach. A cross sectional study of Norwegian handball players


Introduction. It is a well-known phenomenon that athletes ignore and trivialize pain in a variety of sports (1, 2, 3). At the same time, athletes need to acknowledge that their bodies are the instrument they use to perform. Hence, athletes are expected not to take unnecessary risks. This is the so-called risk-pain-injury paradox (4). The aim of the current study is to examine handball players willingness to communicate pain (ComPAIN) to their coach and what might influence their decision to do so. Methods. A sample of 333 handball players (65.6 % females, mean age 19.2 ± 2.3) participated in the current study. A linear regression analysis was conducted to investigate how different factors have an impact on ComPAIN. Results. Approximately 30% of the sample did not ComPAIN to their coach. The regression model explained 27% of the variance in ComPAIN and turned out statistically significant (p<.001). Culture of pain and negative external pressure had a negative association with ComPAIN (p<.05), whereas the coach-athlete relationship (task) had a positive association (p<0.01). Discussion. Finding culture of pain and negative external pressure to have a negative association with ComPAIN suggests that athletes and coaches need to be more educated about the risk-pain-injury paradox. A strategy to increase ComPAIN is to develop a good coach-athlete relationship. Literature 1. Young K. (2004), Oxford: Elsevier. 2. Malcolm D. (2006), Sociology of Sport Journal. 3. Mayer, J., & Thiel, A. (2018), International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 4. Nixon H., L. (1994), Sociology of Sport Journal.