Susceptibility to stress influences athletes' injuries

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Swedish researchers used ultrasound to discover that athletes who are more susceptible to emotional stress are also more likely to experience muscle injuries, according to a new study published online October 18 in the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation.

The team found that stress levels in male soccer athletes from Sweden's first league affect the incidence of muscle injuries they sustain.

A group led by Dr. Mattias Eckerman of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm tracked muscle injuries sustained by male players between 2007 and 2015. The researchers evaluated and diagnosed all muscle injuries with ultrasound, and they asked players to complete a survey called the Swedish Universities Scales of Personality questionnaire to assess their propensity for emotional stress.

Eckerman's group found no significant difference in personality traits among noninjured players, rarely injured players, and frequently injured players regarding the number of muscle injuries, but the team did discover a trend in which frequently injured players scored higher on stress susceptibility than rarely injured players did.

"A player's stress susceptibility should be taken into consideration by the player, coaches, and medical staff when assessing the risk of a muscle injury," the study authors concluded. "Also, preventive measures available for these players may need to be considered."

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