Lecture considers athletes’ pain tolerance

Bruce Walton, senior adjunct professor of business and faculty athletics partner, lectures on how endurance athletes handle pain on Tuesday in the Quay Davis Executive Board Room. Walton indicated that not everyone knows the difference between pain and suffering. / photo by Litsy Tellez
Bruce Walton, senior adjunct professor of business and faculty athletics partner, lectures on how endurance athletes handle pain on Tuesday in the Quay Davis Executive Board Room. Walton indicated that not everyone knows the difference between pain and suffering. / photo by Litsy Tellez

Ramon Morales
Staff Writer

Bruce Walton, senior adjunct professor of business and faculty athletics partner, shared his research titled How Endurance Athletes Understand the Difference Between Pain and Suffering” Tuesday before about 20 in the Quay Davis Executive Boardroom and on Zoom. 

The purpose of Walton’s lecture was to explain the difference between the pain that an athlete may experience and the suffering that can be alarming for athletes. 

“Pain means damage, something is going wrong; it’s a signal that you should stop,” Walton said. “Suffering is how we build physical gain.”

He explained how athletes go through this. They can see these as indicators that while there may not be immediate damage or danger, there could be, so they need to proceed with caution and make wise decisions.

Walton’s study is complex. What he shared on Tuesday was only one of the parts.

One of the elements that discussed was how the level of seriousness among amateur athletes might be similar to professional and elite competitors.

Speaking about their passion and dedication, he went through their learned experience and how it may be important when they are training for something new.

Walton spent much time researching this issue, and he was also an athlete himself, so the topic is personal to him.

“He spent most of his adult life as an elite endurance athlete, specializing in iron man and half iron man racing,” said Jason Neidleman, professor of political science, who attended the talk. 

Walton explained how pain and suffering in certain situations can differ depending on the athlete.

While it is a complex issue, it can be interpreted in many different ways because not everybody is the same, and they do not all withstand the same pain, or they do not all have the same endurance, he said.

While some can make the distinction, the difference between pain and suffering is not as clear for everyone. Different elements will factor in, and it will be different for everyone.

This is something that Walton will continue to elaborate on in future presentations.

Ramon Morales can be reached at ramon.morales@laverne.edu.

Ramon Morales, a senior communications major with an concentration in public affairs, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Litsy Tellez is a junior photography major and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

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