Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Athletic Training (MAT)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Athletic Training Program Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Melanie McGrath

Commitee Members

Valerie Moody, Larry Stayner


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences | Sports Sciences


Background: Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are common with over 200,000 injuries occurring yearly in the United States. Despite excellent objective measures, only 63% of patients return to their pre-injury level of activity. The low number suggest psychologically mediated disability in ACL reconstruction (ACLR) patients. Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative case study is to describe the confidence of one athlete who underwent multiple ACLR and continued to move into higher levels of competition. Methods: A qualitative case study was conducted with a single women’s soccer player with three ACLR. After a review of the participant’s medical history, the primary investigator conducted a semi-formal interview, which was transcribed and coded. Peer debriefing was conducted with a faculty supervisor. Text segments were categorized into themes from the interview and a member check was completed by the participant to verify the accuracy of the analysis. Results: Four main themes were Identified from the interview. These themes were motivation; support; knowledge; and appraisal. Motivation from the patient was crucial in returning to play after each ACLR. She remained mentally tough to undergo three recurrent ACL surgeries and progress to a higher level of sport. Support helped the participant through difficult times when her confidence lacked due to challenges in rehabilitation. Knowledge gained through education and experience was important during recovery. Proper education of the patient allowed the participant to understand the process and feel more comfortable with rehabilitation. Her experience allowed her to know how to cope with stressors. The participant’s appraisal led to a reprioritization of sport and a reframing of challenging rehabilitation. Conclusions: The themes discovered in this study are similar to other studies on individuals undergoing ACLR. These themes give insight for clinicians to help with their patients by showing how understanding a patient‘s sense of motivation is critical to their confidence. Also, developing a strong patient-therapist relationship is key to supporting patient well-being. Patient education is helpful for the patient to understand what to expect in rehabilitation and how to properly perform exercises. Finally, the patient’s appraisal of the injury will dictate most of their attitude about rehabilitation throughout the process.



© Copyright 2018 Jacob Casebolt