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M. L., & Deml, A. S. (2011). Imagery
Use and Sport-Related Injury Rehabilitation. Retrieved from

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occurring in sports are nearly impossible to avoid. According to a 2007 study
done by Jennifer Hootman, Randall Dick, and Julie Agel, the number of athletes participating
in Division I, II, and III athletics that are injured in a single season is
staggering. The numbers indicated that “preseason injuries totaled 286,843
persons, in-season injuries impacted 4,736,057 players, and post-season injuries
tallied 221,188 individuals” (Symond & Deml, 2011). These numbers are absurd
as over 5 million athletes in 2007 had to now recover in order to return to their
respective programs and rehabilitation was one of the first steps in order to
do that. Everybody assumes that rehabilitation only focuses on the physical
aspect of a certain sport, but not everyone realizes that mental imagery can
have a huge impact on the rehabilitation process as well.

Symond and Amanda Deml conducted a study with the purpose of seeing how college
athletes used mental imagery during their rehabilitation and focused on three specific
functions of imagery – motivational, cognitive, and healing. Not only was this study
completed to see how imagery was used, but the authors also wanted to find out
the amount of imagery used in certain sports, the amount of imagery each gender
used, and the use of imagery from the past academic year in athletes who were
both injured and uninjured (Symond & Deml, 2011). The study collected data
from 130 varsity athletes representing 14 different sport and had the participants
identify the amount of each function of imagery they used on a scale from one to
nine.  The data collected showed that there
was more use of motivational imagery than cognitive and healing imagery between
the athletes and they found out that men tend to use mental imagery more than
females. That being said, it is safe to say that mental imagery played an important
role in assisting these athletes during their rehabilitation.

Greg Young spoke to our class about mental imagery and we decided that 87% of an
athlete’s performance is mental and the remaining 13% is physical. However, athletes
tend to spend 87% of their time improving the physical characteristics and only
13% of their time is spent refining the mental aspect. At the professional
level, every athlete is on the same level physically and that is where mental imagery
comes into play. Athletes who use mental imagery in cooperation with the physical
aspect can achieve much more than athletes who only focus on their physical abilities.

city of Indianapolis has seen a variety of their beloved athletes face an
injury that sidelined them for quite some time and this study’s findings might
have been able to help those athletes in regard to their use of mental imagery
in the rehabilitation process. One athlete in particular that suffered a gruesome
injury was former Indiana Pacer Paul George. Paul George was playing for Team
USA in 2014 in a friendly scrimmage when he broke his leg severely. Because his
injury was so significant, not only did he have to put in the physical work to
improve, but his imagery and mental skills had to keep him motivated in order for
him to truly recover.

on the field performance and rehabilitation require athletes to use their
physical and mental abilities to accomplish a goal, but athletes need to
realize that rehabilitation isn’t just about the physical aspect. Using mental imagery
and it’s three main functions along with physical practice can enhance the rehabilitation
and recovery process in a significant way.

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