Almost every athlete gets injured at some point in their game career, especially professional athletes. The games are competitive and most athletes will do anything to ensure winning for their team. Every big league team usually has a large staff of medical personnel assisting them, consisting of doctors, athletic therapists, and physical therapists. So why is it that some athletes still don’t report when they have an injury, and furthermore, keep training and playing with their injuries?
Billy Vunipola, who plays Rugby for the Saracens in England, spoke to the Guardian, saying: “… we’re getting to a stage where competition for places is really hard and you can still have players masking pain, trying to earn that extra contract. It’s something that’s always in the back of my mind.” Stating that players are scared to admit that they’re injured, in fear of not having their contacts renewed and not being able to play. Vunipola also mentions wanting to “be a hero” and working through the pain, because everybody wants to the star of the show for their team.
Are athletes being deviant and going against the norm of reporting serious injuries to be “the hero of the game”? Are athletes being pressured into hiding their injuries by their teammates, peers and/or officials in order to keep playing and ensure being re-signed into their sport? Or is this identity as an athlete just to precious to them to admit they need to take a break?
We can see a continuation of this phenomenon in a study which surveyed 723 German elite handball and track and field athletes where they discover how different injuries impact athletes and when athletes are willing to admit their pain.