“What do you do when you’re not at work?”

This is arguably the most important question you can ask an injured person, as it provides insight into the things they love to do, and these things must form the foundation of the injury management goals; enjoying life without pain!

Over the years of treating elite athletes in a variety of sports, I was always fascinated by the different levels of motivation to return from injury. Some athletes would do everything under the sun to get back as soon as possible, whereas others often dragged out their return to full competition. Spending time with my Sports Psychologist colleagues, I soon realised the reasons for these differences…

The athletes who loved the sport, wanted to get back to doing what they loved.

The athletes who’d lost the love, their sport had become their work and they were happy to take their time to return.

Therefore, it is essential that injury management goals are focussed on what they love!

…but what about injury prevention?

We know injury prevention programs, such as manual handling training and “back care” courses, have questionable success at changing worker behaviour. Therefore, we need to focus on what the individual loves to motivate them to avoid injury, not because their boss wants them to conduct manual handling tasks safer, but so that can continue to enjoy life without pain.