Playing Through the Pain

Do athletes have a higher pain tolerance?

Jan 8, 2013
Outside
Outside Magazine

   Photo: Dirk Anschutz/Getty Images

Turns out athletes do have a leg up when it comes to dealing with pain. A recent review of 15 studies found that athletes in endurance sports have a moderately elevated pain tolerance, while athletes in game sports have a much higher tolerance. Interestingly, the athletes scored the same as a control group did in terms of pain threshold—the point at which discomfort begins—they were just able to deal with it longer.

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