Exposure to contact sports results in maintained performance during experimental pain

Thornton, Claire, Sheffield, D. and Baird, A. (2020) Exposure to contact sports results in maintained performance during experimental pain. The Journal of Pain. ISSN 1526-5900 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2020.03.008


During pain, motor performance tends to decline. However, athletes who engage in contact sports are able to maintain performance despite the inherent pain that accompanies participation. This may be the result of being challenged rather than threatened by pain; adaptive coping strategies; habituation to pain; or finding pain less bothersome. This study aimed to measure performance of a novel motor task both in pain and not in pain within experienced contact athletes (n = 40), novice contact athletes (n = 40) and non-contact athletes (n = 40). Challenge and threat perceptions were manipulated during the pain condition and measures of pain tolerance, perception, coping styles and bothersomeness were taken. Results indicated that contact athletes, regardless of experience, were able to maintain their performance during painful stimulation. Non-contact athletes, conversely, performed significantly worse during pain stimulation. In addition, contact athletes tended to be more challenged and the non-contact athletes more threatened within the pain condition. Experienced contact athletes demonstrated higher levels of pain tolerance and direct coping, and reported lower levels of pain bothersomeness and intensity than the other groups. The results suggest that even relatively brief exposure to contact sports may be enough to help maintain performance in pain. Being in a challenged state appears to be an important factor during performance in pain. Moreover, pain tolerance, intensity and bothersomeness may differentiate novice and experienced athletes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: athletes, challenge, coping
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2020 13:18
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2020 13:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/43807

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