Addressing negative psychosocial factors linked to severe injury in professional rugby players: An introduction to a group psychotherapy approach

TM Hall, JA Botha & JS Patricios

Background: Negative psychosocial sequelae of severe rugby injury (SRI) in professional rugby players are well documented. Unaddressed, these issues can leave players vulnerable to persistent common mental disorders (CMD) and negatively affect injury recovery processes.

Objective: To introduce a psychotherapeutic group intervention aimed at addressing negative psychosocial sequelae linked to SRI in professional rugby player cohorts.

Methods: Literature aimed at clarifying the potential efficacy of an integrative group therapy model, the Recovery Mastery Group (RMG), is discussed after which component parts of the intervention are presented.

Case illustration: A case illustration is presented comprising examples of how the RMG framework addressed psychosocial recovery issues in a professional South African rugby team during 2019.

Conclusion: The proposed Recovery Mastery Group (RMG) is presented as a cost- and time- effective psychotherapeutic intervention that integrates well-researched psychotherapeutic techniques. The RMG appears able to address multiple facets of psychosocial injury recovery, while possibly offering protection from the onset of CMD. This introduction to the RMG can be a forerunner of similar research across larger cohorts, in different team sports, to determine wider therapeutic intervention efficacy.