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Project details

Storying sports injury experiences in VR

Virtual and extended realities MA collaborative project, UWE Bristol 2023
Immerse yourself in the frustrating and exhausting world of the injured athlete in this virtual reality experience, while understanding the sports psychology that underpins their experience. Based on one of the six narratives outlined in research paper “Storying Sports Injury Experiences of Elite Track Athletes: A Narrative Analysis” (Everard, Wadey and Howells, 2021).


User goal

Create an interactive VR/MR headset experience that:
Helps runners reframe their injury experience through a narrative lens
It will do this by:
Helping runners understand the role socio-cultural narratives[1] can have on injury experience
Uncovering which of the dominant injury narratives[1] is closest to the runner’s current approach to injury
Suggesting an alternative injury narrative

Team goal

Create an VR/MR headset experience that:
meets the requirements of the XR MA course ​(collaborative, creative artefact that examines an emerging topic in Virtual, Augmented, Mixed or Extended Reality of the standard that can be expected of submissions to relevant international film festivals or equivalent)
acts as a showcase to enable Jon to gain employment in XR
solves a real problem


Runners with performance goals (competitive amateurs up to elites)
Aged 18-24 (Gen-Z)
getting runners to think about their approach to injury early in their career can have the most impact
18+ is more accessible user testing group, adults can decide if they want to participate and within the university there at


What is the problem you are trying to solve and for who?

Help runners improve their injury experience from a sports psychology perspective.


Injury affects a lot of runners: 50% of runners experience an injury each year that prevents them from running for a period of time, and 25% of runners are injured at any given time[2].


Why sports injury narratives?

The narratives that are ‘out there’ are powerful resources in scaffolding how athletes come to make sense of their experiences
The type of story an injured athlete tells will shape how they think, feel, and behave in relation to their injury experiences
Stories can enable/constrain individuals in different ways
Multiplicity of injury narratives offers athletes greater opportunity and flexibility in framing and re-framing their injury experiences as necessary
Dr Ciara Everard - “Working with injured athletes: Sports injury narratives” [Powerpoint Presentation]


Target device / hardware

Hardware: Oculus Quest 2 and Quest Pro standalone
Software: Unity with Oculus SDK


We hope to eventually license under but currently, the experience design is based around concepts from 2 research papers, both of which are licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0 which does not permit derivative works, so will need to check with the author we have permission to use concepts in their research papers:
Also, the project currently uses assets that can be used for education only which may affect licencing
This project uses a Creative Commons license so other people can learn from or re-use parts of this project, hopefully contributing to the XR and sports psychology fields.

Storying sports injury experiences videos


Everard et al. Storying sports injury experiences of elite track athletes: A narrative analysis
KB Fields, JC Sykes, KM Walker, JC. Jackson Prevention of running injuries

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