Structural Inequity and the Determinants of Injury Anxiety: Yenicami Ağdelen S.K as a Case Study

Melling, Alethea orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3133-5367 and Kanan, Simay (2022) Structural Inequity and the Determinants of Injury Anxiety: Yenicami Ağdelen S.K as a Case Study. In: The Isokinetic Football Medicine Conference: The Player's Voice, 3-6th June 2022, Lyon, France.

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The Cyprus Turkish Football Federation (CTFA) is affiliated to the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA), the governing body representing national teams who are not recognized by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Membership of FIFA has important knowledge, financial, and political implications for national clubs. Funding for development such as the FIFA Goal Programme makes a significant contribution to talent building in national teams. Although ConIFA provides opportunities to play on an international stage, it does not have the funding infrastructure for performance development at member level. We use the term structural inequity as players from unrecognized countries are attributed an unequal status to others within international football. For players within the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation (CTFA), structural inequity has a resonance beyond geo-politics, impacting on player development, motivation, and retention.

The purpose of this research is to identify the determinants of injury anxiety within Yenicami Ağdelen S.K, a CTFA (aka. KTFF) Süper Lig Club. The short-term aim is to identify the psychosocial determinants of player injury anxiety. Long-term, the outcomes will help inform the design of a wider study across the CTFA examining the extent to which injury anxiety may inhibit performance.

To balance intellectual and methodological rigor with players personal epistemologies, the research process is designed around an ethnographic paradigm. This approach utilizes the researcher/participant shared experience to enable co-production of evidence. Interviews are transcribed and coded to themes. Transcriptions of player stories are analysed with NVivo qualitative data analysis (QDA) software. The evidence was co-produced with n=15, professional players aged 24.1 ± 6.6. Evidence was gathered through >60-minute semi structured interviews. Following confirmation of University Ethics Approval, Yenicami Ağdelen SK agreed a formal research partnership. The interviews are completed during the summer 2021. As this study is based on n=15 players from one club, data must be treated with caution in terms of being representative of the CTFA (KTFF) Süper Lig.

Regardless of injury type and recovery time, the study showed that 73.33% of participants suffered anxiety as result of being injured. Furthermore, 46.7% of the participants identified as having persistent anxiety about becoming injured and the possible long-term impacts. The determinants of injury anxiety included: lack of appropriate Health Insurance; length of recovery and rehabilitation; no post-injury health care due to lack of resources; loss of player earnings and financial difficulties for family; losing identity through injury and invisibility. Interview 11 explained: “No one cares for the injured football player due to the (unrecognised) state of football in the country, and he is automatically kicked out of football. His football career is coming to an end”.

A professional football career is synonymous with high injury risk. However, international players under the auspices of FIFA and UEFA have better access to comprehensive research and health care. (2) As CTFA does not have this infrastructure, international players within CTFA (KTFF) Süper Lig are attributed unequal status by denying them the healthcare privileges afforded to FIFA players. Structural inequity within international football leaves Yenicami Ağdelen SK players disadvantaged in terms of health care and injury management, leading to injury related anxiety.

This small study has given a voice to players silenced by a form of epistemic exclusion arising from ‘unrecognised’ status. A psychosocial analysis of the CTFA (KTFF) Süper Lig is necessary, not only to determine the extent of injury anxiety and risk aversion, but to give players agency.

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FIFA. 2022. 09 Feb 2022. <>.
Rookwood, J. "The Politics of ConIFA: Organising and Managing International Football Events for Unrecognised Countries,." Managing Sport and Leisure 25.2 (2020): 6 -20.

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