A study by the medical researcher Jonas Tesarz and colleagues at the University of Heidelberg in 2012 found that athletes had significantly higher pain tolerance than normally active people. And yet both groups had similar pain thresholds, the point at which a sensation is recognisable as pain. Training can’t make athletes numb to pain, but it can condition them to tolerate it. And that kind of self-overcoming seems somehow integral to sport itself – whether you’re playing through the soreness of a tightening back after hundreds of swings on a golf course or holding a bridge pose to escape a pin in the third round of a wrestling match.
Here's another way to look at it:
'I remember the best race I ever had where the pain was almost enjoyable because you see other people hurt more than you,' one Olympic athlete admitted during a study of pain tolerance published in The Journal of Sport Behavior in 2007. 'If nothing is going wrong and there are no mechanical problems during the race then sometimes you can just turn the volume up a little higher and then a little higher and other people suffer and you almost enjoy it, even though you are in pain.'
Here's a link to the article Pain and suffering are not just incidental elements of the sporting life: they are at the centre of every game.