Francesco Casolo, Paola Vago, Lucia Colombo, Monica Gatti, F. Danelon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Introduction Rehabilitation and full sport recovery after Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury and reconstructive surgery need perseverance and willpower. The difficulties normally experienced by patients after injury can be overcome with high motivation during the recovery period (1, 2). Patient’s motivation is essential to achieve full sport recovery but needs full support of physiotherapists and of medical staff. It is thus is essential to assess and analyse psychological aspects as much as negative moments, fears, expectations occurring during rehabilitation, in order to better manage these and to customise motivational strategies for each patient. The aim of our study was to explore which motivational factors are linked to a good compliance of a rehabilitation path, in order to better understand how the staff could support patients in coping with difficulties (physical, emotional and psychological). Methods Five male football players (aged 13 to 38 years) ranging from recreational to competitive athletes, previously undergone ACL surgical reconstruction followed by knee rehabilitation were recruited for this explorative and qualitative study. We conducted semi-structured interviews, specifically focusing on: 1) relationship with football (story, past and future goals, personal needs that find an answer in sport activities); 2) the injury (how it happened, if it has been a psychological trauma, physical sensations, thoughts and emotions); 3) the recovery process with particular attention to surgery and rehabilitation. The interviews were conducted by a psychologist in Isokinetic Centre of Milan, in winter 2014-15. We were interested in understanding their decision to opt for surgery, what information they had, what were their expectations and if they encountered any unexpected event. The aim was not to measuring the incidence of different motivations supporting rehabilitation, but better understand which strategies the staff could use (customizing the intervention) during the rehab process in order to obtain better results working together with the patients. Moreover, we wanted to know how the rehabilitation period was. We applied a semi projective tool (fill in a graphic line that represents their feeling in the main steps of the path, starting from before the injury and arriving to the present, few months after the end of the rehabilitation). Results The five patients started playing football since they were a child and they never stopped it until the injury. They loved that spots, especially for the social and the competitive needs. Nowadays, they are not sure to playing football again for different reasons (linked – they said – to changes in their life), except the youngest one. The injury was a different experience for them, in some cases has been a trauma (big pain, feeling in danger, something broken), in other cases instead they didn’t understand its seriousness. When the injury is a traumatic experience, it seems more probable that the player will have more fear about “broken himself” again. From the graphics we could understand that the injury (or when they realize the seriousness of it) was the worst moment, but actually they feel almost as before. They had good information about the surgery, but the days just followed were very hard (they felt blocked and starting the rehab had a good effect (they felt active and not passive). From the five patients point of views, the physiotherapist had a core role during the rehabilitation process. In particular, the football players we interviewed reported that the physiotherapist had two important functions: to guide them during exercise (professional function) and encourage them to face difficulties using “the carrot and the stick” (motivational function). The Doctor is perceived as a supervisor who gives feedback on the results and anticipates the following steps. The patients cou
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts, DTP: Sport Tools Koln
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Duration: 24 Jun 201527 Jun 2015


CityMalmo _ SWEDEN


  • ACL injury, football players, motivation


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