New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Supplemental Materials
  • Comments/Replies

I Almost Missed the Marathon

Self-determination, Injury, and Sport Termination

Co Authors:

Andrew T. Johnson
Department of Psychology and Sociology
Park University

Anna M. Jähn
Department of Psychology and Sociology
Park University


This case study is about a German man named Fritz Jähn. Fritz was physically active in his youth and an achievement-striving individual who was academically and professionally accomplished. He distinguished himself as an anesthesiologist and a father, but athletic competitions had been placed on hold. In his late 30s Fritz was inspired by a German Porsche ad: "By 40 years of age, a man has to have built a house, have fathered a son, have run a marathon, and driven a Porsche." Fritz was only missing the marathon, but with dedicated training he met this goal by the age of 40. He then progressed to triathlon events followed by five Ironman competitions. His competitive endeavors were terminated after an unsuccessful hallux valgus surgery in his 40s. This case study presents the details of these events along with information related to his personality dispositions, motivation, his response to sport injury, and sport termination. Designed for a sport psychology class, Fritz's story may be brought into any course that addresses concepts of identity, personality, motivation, lifespan development, and transition from profession.

  • Identify cultural statements, proverbs, or advertisements that motivate individuals.
  • Discriminate aspects of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
  • Identify how cognitive appraisal, behavioral and emotional responses of an individual influence reactions to injury (Integrated Sport Injury Model).
  • Describe the key components of the Conceptual Model of Career Termination.
Keywords: psychology; motivation; sports medicine; sport psychology; self-determination theory; integrated model of sport injury; resilience; sport termination; career termination
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Analysis (Issues), Discussion
Language: English
Subject Headings: Psychology   Sports Science  
Date Posted: 9/19/2017
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

  Get Answer Key

Supplemental Materials

The PPT presentation below contains two images that can be projected to aid class discussion.


City State:
security code
Enter Security Code: