Fear of Getting Hurt Plagues Players in World Cup Year

Anxiety is a factor that increases the risk of injuries, point out sport psychologists

São Paulo

It starts with an increased heart rate. Afterwards, the breath becomes labored. There can be sweaty hands, stomach pains and, in the case of players, the worst, muscle tension.

The physical reactions triggered in the human body by psychological factors, such as fear and anxiety, are among the elements that increase the risk of injury.

In a World Cup year – in Qatar, from November 21 to December 18 –, the fear of getting hurt and losing the opportunity to be called up to defend their country can be precisely the greatest danger for athletes.

Psychologists and physical trainers explain that if the body is working in an excessive degree of tension caused, for example, by anxiety, the muscles will be more rigid and more susceptible to bruising.

"Tensioned muscle fibers lose flexibility, and, in shock or dislocation, this can end up causing an injury", says sports psychologist Eduardo Cillo, a doctor in psychology from USP (University of São Paulo).

The list of players who missed the chance to compete in a World Cup due to physical problems is extensive and includes names such as Romário, German Michael Ballack, English David Beckham and Michael Owen and Dutchman Marco van Basten.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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