The study on which this article is built identifies psychosocial factors that come
into play when boys experience pain and, more specifically, how these particular
boys attribute meaning to such experience. Twelve male competitive ice hockey
players aged nine to thirteen years participated in small focus-group sessions. Pain
from exertion/fatigue, acute pain, chronic pain, and pain from a head injury were
examined. The older boys had a more advanced understanding of pain but all the
boys engaged in sense-making strategies to play through pain. They were all well
informed about concussions and many exercised a greater level of caution towards
symptoms of a head injury compared to chronic pain or discomfort from exertion.
Educating young athletes and adults about the implications of pain and injury
both in and beyond the sport itself may help deconstruct the false sense of invulnerability
associated with being a competitive athlete.