Athletic Training M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Osgood, Chad


Background: In rehabilitation, athletic trainers should address the psychological aspect of rehabilitation as it is just as important as the physical aspect. Psychological responses an athlete can experience include anxiety, depression, frustration, tension, and a decreased level of self-esteem. These responses can lead to a decreased rate of return to the sport. Purpose: The purpose of this critical review of the research was to examine the following clinical question: Can implementing imagery in rehabilitation in collegiate football players decrease reinjury anxiety in return to play after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair (ACLR) compared to standard rehabilitation? Results: There were 20 articles that were assessed. Of the articles included, there was 1 observational design, 4 cohort studies, 3 cross sectional studies, 1 prospective correlational design study, 2 survey studies, 5 systematic reviews, and 4 random control trials. The literature reviews areas of knowledge gaps as well as current trends in athletic training. Overall, results from the studies suggest that guided imagery was useful in helping decrease anxiety. Conclusion: Reinjury anxiety is the number one predictor in return to play status as reported by athletes. Imagery has been shown to be associated with reduced reinjury anxiety, lowered stress levels, potential increased muscle activation, and potential decreased pain perception. Implications: Imagery has been found to provide better results for rehabilitation and decrease anxiety levels. The results suggest that athletic trainers can enhance the recovery of individuals who have had ACL reconstructive surgery by providing strategic interventions that go beyond traditional rehabilitation. There is a need for more research to understand the potential use of imagery in different settings. Due to the lack of current research on this subject, this project can help to expand the use of imagery in rehabilitation settings in order to decrease anxiety among collegiate players with ACLR.

Degree Name

Athletic Training M.S.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Kinesiology Commons