Research Proposal (KINT 201)




                 Recovery after a Serious Sports Injury:                 

Reestablishing Peak Performance

Jeff Sickler

Southwestern Adventist University
















Athletes are able to perform to peak performance under the following circumstances. 
This qualitative study researches athletes and their probability of returning to the sport. The goals are to have the athlete perform adequately and potentially to the athlete’s peak performance while maintaining a recovery form a serious sports injury.  Methods used are taken from literary reviews and put into daily practices for recovering athletes.  Dietary changes are suggested, instability training and calisthenics use proven results and behavior methods determine the probability of an athlete returning to sport by their decision making. The purpose of examining return-to sport athletes and the healing process is to find the answer of categorized athletes suffering from serious sports injuries. 

The main method and goal is to produce peak performance after a serious sports injury.  Using methods in this document, athletes will gain an understanding of why preventing injuries are important, and how preventing injuries can add more playing years in an athlete’s life. The significance of rehabilitating a serious injury means proceeding through a healing process that may take weeks or months. Research shows, according to Podlog (2006), that there are “no qualitative longitudinal studies. . .” for return-to-sport athletes.  The purpose of this research is to find methods for injury prevention and stability for injury recover (not just peak performance).  The goals of reestablishing peak performance should prove that athletes are able to perform competitively and must do so by: (1) finding a healing process that works best (2) regaining sleep and (3) awareness on nutrient intake.  As these three may pertain to any audience, subsequently, other goals mentioned may apply, thereby not applicable to all: (1) instability  training for obese and (2) PLY or plyometric or callisthenic programs for more healthy individuals. For an athlete to fully recovery, there must be guidelines to recover and prevention plans from getting reoccurring injuries in the future. The methods are to find ways to give the athletes a second chance, either through surgery, rest or process of healing and change of diet. Depending on the athlete, not all athletes will recover the same but the goal is to make the process quick for perfect condition.  If faithful to rehabilitation guidelines, athlete may reach its fullest potential of recovery.  This will prove that recovering from a serious sports injury is possible; taking into account that age plays a huge part of how fast an athlete can heal or even return to sport.

According Kaminksy, M. (2000), Fifteen Athletes Who Battled Back shares personal changes to recovery “by looking in the mirror and admitting to a problem” (p.9). The athletes were able to admit to the problem by using two descriptors studied by Perrin, D. H.  (2000). After the athletes benefit from changing and admitting to a problem, for example, change of eating habits could result in reduced risk of disease. For these types of athletes, the goal is to create a similar diet plan that was done by Carpentier, Jim (2006) and suggested three meals a day with 8 glasses of water.  The same procedure must go for recovering and the expected results are: (1) develop a plan for athletes to return as fast as possible to their previous activity (2) that exercise must be recognized as an important indicator to preserving life and (3) and athletes creed to return but not seen could be achieved through the methods and goals of this research. Johnson, S. R. (2011) argued that in the past 30 years, coaches and assistants have been creating methods and strategies for athletes to achieve their peak performances. 





Reestablishing Peak Performance:

Perrin, D. H.  (2000) studied two descriptors, “signs and symptoms” that characterized particular sports injuries.  The two descriptors of injuries determine whether or not the athlete is (1) measured as unconscious/conscious (2) in a state of shock and /or needs (3) screening or immediate action. The study suggests that the signs are to be found by the obvious; swelling, discoloration, deformity and symptoms are to be denoted by the athlete that can only give pain that cannot be observed.  The athlete will be able to feel he pain but the observer will not and must take in to consideration the injury at hand.  All observers of sport injuries must approach an injury like it’s a serious injury, handle with care, and make sure no other injuries occur while stabilizing the injury at hand.   According to Johnson, S. R. et al. (January, 2011), the Sports Journal says:

Specifically, the disciplines of sports administration, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and sports psychology can assist coaches while physically and mentally training their athletes. This article illustrates six primary components of these disciplines: risk management, injury prevention, communication, nutrition, goal setting, and athlete development (p. 1).


There is more to preventing injuries than looking at the obvious physique of a player, rather there could be another approach to the athletes condition (1) cognition; (2) Affect; (3) Outcome; and (4) behavior.  The athlete must be able to respond and show competence of the player’s whereabouts.  This is the first step to rehab.  The second to determining where pain is, the observer in the scenario must palpate other areas of no obvious pain and conduct palpation towards given site of injury.  The player will be able to given behavioral reactions, showing fear of not touching the site of the injury, or audio gasps indicating light palpation to the dermis. According to Wiese-Bjorstal et al. (1998):

“Cognitive appraisal and stress process conceptual models such as the Integrated Model of Psychological Response to the Sport Injury and Rehabilitation Process have consistent research support; the injury itself now program becomes another stressor in the athlete’s life leading to process cycles of thoughts, feelings, and actions” (p. 106).


O’Conner et al. (1998) studies show that there are also two main focuses and more hands on for treating an injured athlete. The study focuses (1) the care and treatment of common athletic injury and (2) the athlete seeing through a nutritional diet and strength training; which the athlete will actually be preventing injuries and other future problems. The purpose referencing any athlete to dietary health programs and Ply is to address the athlete that they are under the conditions and being involved in fitness programs will build strength to prevent the injury to reoccur.  Before the athlete can even think about injury prevention, assessing the current health conditions are necessary.

Nutrition affects our body, especially when it comes to exercise. Since metabolism is constantly burns calories during exercise, returning nutrients to the body after a work is viable to sustaining an injury and preventing a reoccurring injury.  The injury needs to constantly be built; just like the metabolism that constant needs the right amount of nutrients.  How does this compare.  Taking in nutrients will supplement the metabolism or satisfying, will give the athlete energy for the given task or exercise.  During rehab, the athlete needs to take nutrients, such as vitamins, natural minerals (water), before and after every workout. 

The scope is to given the body enough nutrients before the workout that during the stage of metabolizing calories, there will equilibrated amount of calories to sustain the body and not have calories lost from the muscles of the musculoskeletal system.  If there are proteins lost in muscles because of the lack of improper calorie intake, muscles will weaken and eventually lose their mass; this will occur in the bones density as well.  This happens when there are not enough calories ingested from a meal, and results occur by stealing stored energy in other places in the body.  However, what we eat on a daily basis will build up over time and eventually affect the levels of healing.  Carpentier, Jim (2006, September) suggests at least three meals a day and the biggest concern is inflammation towards major injuries.

There are three stages of a healing process; according to Milliron, B. J.; Woolf, K. (2008), that the body requires certain amount of nutrients for full amount of healing: (1) inflammation (2) cell synthesis and (3) tissue regulation. For each of these stages, the body needs nutrients.  Milliron, B. J.; Woolf, K. (2008) mentioned that researchers at Boston University found certain nutrients, more specifically quercitin, that these blocked substances causing inflammation can reduced by “eating an extra apple or two a day to hasten recovery”, (Milliron & Woolf, 2008). 

If this were true of reducing inflammation, an athlete would be less likely to receive an injury by eliminating excessive fatty foods. There are ways to reduce serious (inflamed) injuries if athletes are overweight and prone to higher inflammatory. Taking Less consumption of excess calories will reduce body fat and give more room for lean muscle.  This concludes that chronic inflammatory, including signs and symptoms, “can result from mechanical loading and friction”, (Perrin, 2000). Overweight NFL linebackers who are generally big boned and muscular carry extra body fat and generally train to reduce weight instead of building muscle (Carpentier, 2006).

Fowles, J. R. (2010) study illustrates in bulleted points how obese athletes can properly recovery from serious injuries.  His method in using instability training: (1) reducing the incidence of low back pain (2) for the core musculature suited for high-volume training and (3) should comprise a well balanced and well-rounded exercise program for the attainment of overall musculoskeletal health (Fowles, 2010).  

 However the most popular training, according to Markovic, G.; & Mikulic, P. (2010), PLY is designed for more healthy individuals that are looking for injury prevention, instead of looking for instability training which is more designed for obese individuals.  The society is every changing now that tendencies are allowing the increase of automobiles and dependences of fatty foods.  The biggest problem suggested by Buxbaum, R.; & Lyle, J. M. (1979) is that outside the instability programs for the obese is the “misguided cultural outlook that says overweight comes with aging” (p.61). 

The problem doesn’t stop here, an applied illustrated through a flowing chart that if obese children started earlier in their childhood, PLY will have “a persistent long term effect over and above the effects of normal growth and development”, and the reason Plyometric training (PLY) would not be a good idea for rehabilitation for obese individuals is that “bone adaptation has been much less studied”. (Markovic & Mikulic, 2010).


Similar to Fifteen Athletes Who Battled Back, wrote by Kaminksy, M. (2000), writes on notorious athletes that do not give up on recovering from a serious battle. His book proved that athletes can overcome any obstacle, for example, a blind man climbed mountains. Athletes are going to face challenges and its up to the athlete to recover reestablish peak performance.  Huston & Rizzo K. D. (1995) is similar to recovery; “faith is that which is hoped for but not yet seen” (p.189) meaning athletes can only hope for the best when it comes to recovery.  The purpose of recovery, from a serious sports injury, is “to establish a return to full activity in the shortest possible time” (Tucker & Castle, 1978).  Studies have shown that going through home treatment will allot perfect restoration for an athlete after an injury.  The scope is to reduce deterioration in the future.  By consciously looking to reduce deterioration, according to Tucker, W. E.; & Castle, M. (1978) that injury prevention (stretching) does more then reduces the risk of inflammation.

 To successfully achieve full perfect condition (Carpentier, 2006), the athlete must follow healthy guidelines of eating 3 meals a day and throw out foods that fuel the fire to chronic pain. Setting the athlete back in his rehabilitation period inhibits the ability to perform. Old habits may come back, for example, like non nutritional valued meals like high intake of saturated fats.  If there is any deficiency in nutrients, the healing process will slow down and the recovery process will be delayed. 

            Once the individual gets behind in the rehabilitation period, there are various to get back on track.  In order to get back on track there must be sedentary life style change to being active; Buxbaum & Lyle (1979) says that “exercise must be a major factor in preserving life”.  The best way to recover would to consume protein and regain lost energy.  This author also suggests that metabolic rate is one of the initial stages of healing (Milliron & Woolf, 2008).

Athletes are able to recover from their injuries and perform at a peak performance if the right decisions are made.  The choices that are being made are for the body to be able to function at its highest peak, having a high metabolic rate, training with Ply to increase endurance, intake of proteins to protect the body from generated radicals, and fitness for well being from sedentary activity to being proactive. Pro-activity is proven to prevention reoccurring injuries and to recovery from injuries for a maximal outcome.


Finally, athletes can sustain their recovery in a peak performance, there is perhaps a successful way, from a Recipe for Recovery, and there is a way to recover as an athlete from a serious sports injury (Milliron & Woolf, 2008). Athletes are able to recover from their injuries and perform at a peak performance if the right decisions are made. Among this study, the most common rehabilitation exercises for athletes are considered to be swimming or bathed areas in facilities.  Buxbaum, R.; & Lyle, J. M. (1979) suggests other areas of rehabilitation such as: (1) walking, hiking, running and orienteering (2) down hill and cross country skiing and (3) new games, such as ones that involve little equipment.

            Carpentier, Jim (2006) researched why rehabilitation doesn’t work for all athletes. PLY is suggested, where as to others to prefer mechanical loading may be the way for them. Instability training, manipulation posture training may be more beneficial, and especially when this is “connected with the mind and the mood”, the right decisions will be made in a long term effect (Tucker & Castle, 1978).  A flowing chart gives a visual for answering questions on what to do from a serious sports injury.  






Buxbaum, R. & Lyle, J. M. (1979). Sports for Life: Fitness Training, Nutrition, and Injury Prevention. Seattle, WA: Beacon Press.

Huston, T. & Rizzo, K. D. (1995). More than Mountains: One Leg, Fifty Mountain, an Unconquerable Faith. Boise, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association.

Kaminksy, M. (2000). Uncommon Champions: Fifteen Athletes Who Battled Back. Honesdale, PA: Boyd Mills Press.

O’Conner, B.; Budgett, R.; Wells, C. & Lewis, J. (1998). Sports Injuries and Illnesses: Their Prevention and Treatment. Ramsbury, MB: The Crowood Press.

Perrin, D. H.  (2000). Assessment of Athletic: Athletic Training Education Series.  Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Tucker, W. E.; & Castle, M. (1978). Sportsmen and Their Injuries: Fitness, First Aid, Treatment and Rehabilitation. Slough, Berkshire: Pelham Books Ltd.


Carpentier, Jim (2006). Coach & Athletic Director: Nutrition as a Key Player in Injury Recovery. (Vol. 76 Issue 2, p55 3p). 

Fowles, Jonathon R. (2010). Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism: What I always wanted to know about instability training. (Vol. 35 Issue 1, p89 1p).

Hamilton, B. (2010). Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports: Vitamin D and Human Skeletal Muscle. (Vol. 20 Issue 2, p182 9p).

REESTABLISHING PEAK PERFORMANCE                                                                                      12

Johnson, S. R., Wojnar, P. J., Price, W. J., Foley, T. J., Moon, J. R., Esposito, E. N., & Cromartie, F. J. (2011). A Coach's Responsibility: Learning How to Prepare Athletes for Peak Performance. (Vol. 14, Issue 1).

Markovic, G., & Mikulic, P. (2010). Sports Medicine: Neuro-Musculoskeletal and Performance Adaptations to Lower-Extremity Plyometric Training. (Vol. 40 Issue 10, p859).

Milliron, B. J., & Woolf, K. (2008). RECIPE FOR RECOVERY: Swimming World. (49, 26).

Podlog, L., & Eklund, R. C. (2006). Journal of Applied Sport Psychology: A Longitudinal Investigation of Competitive Athletes' Return to Sport Following Serious Injury. (Vol. 18 Issue 1, p44 25p).

Weise-Bjornstal, D. M. (2010). Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports: Psychology and socioculture affect injury risk, response, and recovery in highintensity athletes. (Vol. 20, p103 9p).