Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

McDonnell, Judith


Pain; Injury; Rationalization; Athletics; Sociology


Bryant University


In recent years we have seen an increased participation in sport. With this increased participation comes increased risk of pain and injury. The short-term rewards of competing with a degree of pain might be great, but the long-term ramifications could prove to be detrimental. Many factors, such as age, level of professionalism, time spent in sport, and gender has an impact on an athlete’s rationalization for competing with pain. Their view of the consequences also differs depending on their status in the sport. In order to determine where the most important factors lie, a combination of in-person interviews and online questionnaires were used to provide the most diverse yet accurate representation of athletes. Statistical cross tabulations of the Bryant athletics responses provided black and white answers, while more comprehensive in-person interviews gave insight not found from the questionnaire. Issues such as influential factors, length involved in sport, status as a collegiate starter, and gender were stressed to Bryant athletics participants. The in-person interviews of male and female rugby players as well as male mixed martial artists provided focused on types of pain experienced, influential factors, pain rationalization, and whether or not the athlete’s decision was worth it. All of the data was compared to works from leading researchers in the sociology of sport. The findings based on 2013 research of collegiate athletes along with professional fighters will both confirm and disprove current views on gender differences and the influence of friendship networks on athletes.