Managing Pain and Injury in Non-Elite Rugby Union and Rugby League: a case study of players at a British University

Katie/K Liston, Dean Reacher, Andy Smith, Ivan Waddington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies of elite and professional athletes have pointed to a high level of tolerance of painamong such athletes, coupled with a willingness to continue training and competing evenwhen injured and in pain. The central object of this article is to examine some of the waysin which non-elite players of rugby union and rugby league at a British universityrespond to and manage pain and injury. The central finding is that the attitudes andbehaviour of the non-elite rugby players appear to be broadly similar to the attitudes andbehaviour of elite and professional athletes in other sports. This suggests that keyelements of the ‘culture of risk’ which has been identified in elite and professional sportare not confined to elite sport but that they are also characteristic of non-elite sport.Particularly important in this regard is the culture of ‘playing hurt’, that is, continuing toplay with pain and injury, the value of which is clearly accepted by the non-elite rugbyplayers in this sample. These findings suggest that the ‘culture of risk’ cannot beadequately explained in terms of relatively recent commercial and financial pressures inprofessional and elite sport to ‘play hurt’, but that it may be a more deeply rootedcharacteristic of sport at all levels. The paper also examines some of the implications ofthese findings for government policies designed to improve the health of the nation byencouraging people to participate in sport.ISSN 1743-0437 (print)/ISSN 1743-0445 (online)/06/030388-15 q 2006 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/17430430600673407Katie
LanguageEnglish
Pages388-402
JournalSport in Society
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006

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pain
Sports
elite
athlete
government policy
tolerance
health
Values

Keywords

  • pain
  • injury
  • rugby

Cite this

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title = "Managing Pain and Injury in Non-Elite Rugby Union and Rugby League: a case study of players at a British University",
abstract = "Studies of elite and professional athletes have pointed to a high level of tolerance of painamong such athletes, coupled with a willingness to continue training and competing evenwhen injured and in pain. The central object of this article is to examine some of the waysin which non-elite players of rugby union and rugby league at a British universityrespond to and manage pain and injury. The central finding is that the attitudes andbehaviour of the non-elite rugby players appear to be broadly similar to the attitudes andbehaviour of elite and professional athletes in other sports. This suggests that keyelements of the ‘culture of risk’ which has been identified in elite and professional sportare not confined to elite sport but that they are also characteristic of non-elite sport.Particularly important in this regard is the culture of ‘playing hurt’, that is, continuing toplay with pain and injury, the value of which is clearly accepted by the non-elite rugbyplayers in this sample. These findings suggest that the ‘culture of risk’ cannot beadequately explained in terms of relatively recent commercial and financial pressures inprofessional and elite sport to ‘play hurt’, but that it may be a more deeply rootedcharacteristic of sport at all levels. The paper also examines some of the implications ofthese findings for government policies designed to improve the health of the nation byencouraging people to participate in sport.ISSN 1743-0437 (print)/ISSN 1743-0445 (online)/06/030388-15 q 2006 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/17430430600673407Katie",
keywords = "pain, injury, rugby",
author = "Katie/K Liston and Dean Reacher and Andy Smith and Ivan Waddington",
note = "Reference text: Charlesworth, H. and K. Young. “Injured Female Athletes: Experiential Accounts from England and Canada.” In Pain and Injury in Sport: Social and Ethical Analysis, edited by S. Loland, B. Skirstad, and I. Waddington. London: Routledge, 2006. Coakley, J. and R. Hughes. “Deviance in Sports.” In Sport in Society, edited by J. Coakley. 6th ed. Boston, MA: Irwin McGraw-Hill, 1998. Curry, T. “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anyone: Athletic Career Socialization and the Normalization of Sport Injury.” Symbolic Interaction 16 (1993): 273–90. Curry, T. and R. Strauss. “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody: A Photo-Essay on the Normalization of Sport Injuries.” Sociology of Sport Journal 11 (1994): 195–208. DCMS (Department for Culture,Media and Sport). A Sporting Future for All. London: DCMS, 2000. DCMS and DfEE (Department for Education and Employment). The Government’s Plan for Sport. London: DCMS and DfEE, 2001. DNH (Department of National Heritage). Sport: Raising the Game. London: DNH, 1995. Hawkins, R. and C. Fuller. “A Prospective Epidemiological Study of Injuries in Four English Professional Football Clubs.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 33 (1999): 196–203. Howe, D. “An Ethnography of Pain and Injury in Professional Rugby Union: The Case of Pontypridd RFC.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 35 (2001): 289–303. ———. Sport, Professionalism and Pain. London: Routledge, 2004. Malcolm, D. and K. Sheard. ‘“Pain in the Assets’: The Effects of Commercialization and Professionalization on the Management of Injury in English Rugby Union.” Sociology of Sport Journal 19 (2002): 149–69. Malcolm, D., K. Sheard and S. Smith. “Protected Research: Sports Medicine and Rugby Injuries.” Sport in Society 7 (2004): 97–110. Nicholl, J., P. Coleman, and B. Williams. Injuries in Sport and Exercise: Main Report. London: The Sports Council, 1993. Nixon, H. L.II. “A Social Network Analysis of Influences on Athletes to Play with Pain and Injuries.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 16 (1992): 127–35. ———. “Social Pressure, Social Support, and Help Seeking for Pain and Injuries in College Sports Networks.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 18 (1994): 340–55. Roderick, M. “The Sociology of Pain and Injury in Sport.” In Pain and Injury in Sport: Social and Ethical Analysis, edited by S. Loland, B. Skirstad, and I. Waddington. London: Routledge, 2006. Sport in Society 401 Downloaded by [University of Ulster at Coleraine] at 06:18 21 March 2012 Roderick, M., I.Waddington, and G. Parker. “Playing Hurt: Managing Injuries in English Professional Football.” International Review for Sociology of Sport 35 (2000): 165–80. Waddington, I. Sport, Health and Drugs. London: E&FN Spon, 2000. ———. “Sport, Health and Public Policy.” In Sporting Bodies, Damaged Selves: Sociological Studies of Sports-Related Injury, edited by K. Young. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 2004. ———. “Ethical Problems in the Medical Management of Sports Injuries: A Case Study of English Professional Football.” In Pain and Injury in Sport: Social and Ethical Analysis, edited by S. Loland, B. Skirstad, and I. Waddington. London: Routledge, 2006. Waddington, I., D.Malcolm, and K. Green. “Sport,Health and Physical Education: A Reconsideration.” European Physical Education Review 3 (1997): 165–82. Waddington, I. and P. Murphy. “Sport for All: Some Public Health Policy Issues and Problems.” Critical Public Health 8 (1998): 193–205. Waddington, I. and M. Roderick, “Management of Medical Confidentiality in English Professional Football Clubs: Some Ethical Problems and Issues.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 36 (2002): 118–23. Waddington, I., M. Roderick, and G. Parker. Managing Injuries in Professional Football: The Role of the Club Doctor and Phsysiotherapist. Leicester: University of Leicester, 1999. Young, K. “Violence, Risk and Liability in Male Sports Culture.” Sociology of Sport Journal 10 (1993): 373–96. Young, K., W. McTeer, and P. White. “Body Talk: Male Athletes Reflect on Sport, Injury and Pain.” Sociology of Sport Journal 11 (1994): 175–94. Young, K. and P. White. “Sport, Physical Danger, and Injury: The Experiences of Elite Women Athletes.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 19 (1995): 45–62.",
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Managing Pain and Injury in Non-Elite Rugby Union and Rugby League: a case study of players at a British University. / Liston, Katie/K; Reacher, Dean; Smith, Andy; Waddington, Ivan.

In: Sport in Society, Vol. 9, No. 3, 01.06.2006, p. 388-402.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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