Returning to sport after an injury can be a difficult process for competitive elite athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of competitive elite athletes returning to sport after an injury in order to identify critical, and possibly new, factors which can help them to recover and return to play as soon as possible. A number of factors have been identified by several researchers. These factors include medical, physiological, emotional and others. The literature also highlighted the importance of social support, which includes support from people around athletes, such as family, friends, coaches, trainers, teammates and so on. Through this research I wanted to find the most important and helpful to athletes factors. The data of this retrospective qualitative study were collected through interviews. Eleven elite athletes, from six countries and different kind of sports took part in this research. Athletes were interviewed through semi-structured interview and asked to answer some questions and share their experience of recovery from sports injury and returning to play. The collected data were analyzed through the coding method. All similar answers were put together and finally key factors for athletes’ recovery and return to play were identified. This study confirmed the accuracy of a number of helpful factors for athletes’ recovery and return to play which were already known from literature. Moreover the study discovered several new and key factors, like support from government, sport organization employees, and athletes’ own motivation to achieve their goals. The sport manager should pay attention to all these factors when he or she is planning a recovery program for the injured athlete.