Table 4

Themes, subcodes and exemplary quotes on the role of experience

Main themeSubcodeExemplary quote
ExperienceLearning process through time, injuries and maturationAthlete 01: “I learned throughout my career, and after some injuries, I have to be really honest and really careful not to make things worse. Because sometimes it starts with a little thing, and then it just gets way bigger.”
Physical therapist 01: “When they grow older, they see that it is very important because they had one or two injuries, and it is not a good feeling to have an injury(,…), but it is the experience that makes that. When they have nothing, they don’t feel it is important. It is the age, the age, the experience, the maturation of the athlete.”
Gaining knowledge on body awareness and self-regulationAthlete 02: “I think the older you get, the more experience you get, the more you read about it and know about it, the more it helps you also to get to know your body.(…)So, I think the older you get, the more you get to know yourself and to get, like to, make the right decision.”
Athlete 03: “With the experience, I know what I need, and I know my body better. So, yeah. I tried a lot of things, and now I can say this is good for me and what I do.”
Physical therapist 01: “If you have the knowledge of the risks and about that IP works, then you get the intrinsic motivation to do it.”
Staff learning from and transmitting it to athletes after being former athletesCoach 01: “You know or feel when you are on the floor, you know what thinks a player, you know what they want(…)because you were a player before, and I think it is an advantage for me. I think it is for me it is a part of the prevention for the injury.”
Athlete 04: “Trainers can help as well because they are on the mat with us all the time. They can see maybe things that we don’t even feel or see.”
Early career versus current situationAthlete 01: “I worked with so many coaches, but not really one told me the importance of injuries and taking care of my body as I should’ve.”
Athlete 05: “Learning throughout especially the last 2 years, now I am like ok, so this works, and this feels good and(…)sometimes I think back, and it is like I should’ve known a lot better or a lot more when I was younger, and I could’ve been further in certain areas of my career.”
Athlete 06: “I wish I knew more, and I think I could’ve prevented a lot more, but you are just young, and you think I have to work hard to get where I am, so that is what I am going to do.(…)I wish I knew more because I really believe that in the prevention of sports injuries, I could have avoided some things, I am sure.”
MotivationsPerformance and injuryPhysical therapist 02: “I think most of all the experience of a bad injury, most of the players had already an injury and(…)that needs an inactivity of several months(…)so they really want to prevent this kind of injuries.”
Manager 01: “As a professional athlete, that aspect alone that “I cannot get injured, I am going to take care of myself, I am going to listen to everybody,(…)because I want to be in the team to experience all that”. For me, that has to be the motivation.”
Athlete 06: “Actually, my goal is always don’t miss practices and try not to miss games, and that is the only thing that drives me, and I want to keep going.”
Athlete 07: “I had twice ACL injury so it’s a big injury and I was a lot of time sitting out,(…)I know it’s just so important to do this (injury prevention), so I can keep on staying on the court. So that’s the main thing, don’t want to be injured.”
Athlete 02: “Because I have had so many injuries, I think for me it (injury prevention) is now a must, so I have to do it.”
Being an elite athlete is a jobAthlete 01: “Well, it is my job now, so I am a professional athlete, so obviously you want to keep doing this career, you want to keep making money.”
Athlete 04: “I think it is a big part of being a top-level athlete, and I think it adds to the professionalism.”
Athlete 06: “They pay you, and it is your work.”