Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Male Collegiate Student-Athlete's Perception of Social Support during Athletic Injury
by Williams, Vernon T., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2014, 249; 3633616
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of the perceptions, expectations, and communication styles injured student-athletes have for their teammates, coaches, and athletic trainers. One-on-one interviews were utilized to gather data from 20 student-athletes representing two separate institutions, who competed in six different sports and ranged in classification from freshman to graduate students. Data analysis was guided by the Social Support Model developed by Richman, Rosenfeld, and Hardy (1993).

Five major findings were identified from the study that helped provide insight on the three research questions. The findings revealed that there was tremendous stress placed on athletes throughout the injury process, including feelings of loneliness while their teams continued to compete, as well as, anxiety surrounding returning to competition, financial assistance, and medical treatment. Many of these stressors were perceived as individual-specific, requiring different forms of support based on the injured student-athlete's connection to support providers both inside and outside of the athletics arena. In most instances, injured student-athletes wanted the attention to remain on the healthy players and overall team success, thus they viewed their injuries as their own personal responsibilities and limited certain communication with teammates, coaches, and athletic trainers. However, the vast majority of participants noted relying heavily on the support of teammates, who they viewed as brothers, throughout the injury process.

Observations from the study led to four primary recommendations for practitioners. These recommendations focused on providing injured student-athletes with the encouragement, knowledge, and resources to manage the challenging emotions associated with athletic injury. Implications for practice included: (a) Increased awareness surrounding the topic of athletic injury, (b) Better integration of student-athletes into the larger university community, (c) Greater emphasis on teambuilding opportunities, and (d) Early engagement of professional support providers such as counselors and sports psychologist. Results of the study provided insight on a unique and hard to reach population of division I, male, collegiate student-athletes. Furthermore, the study provided additional information on their perceptions surrounding athletic injury and how best to support injured student-athletes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jakeman, Rick C.
Commitee: Burroughs, Rahsaan, Chernak, Robert A., Clayton, Jennifer K., Swayze, Susan S.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Education, Higher education
Keywords: Athletics, Injury, Ncaa, Sports, Support
Publication Number: 3633616
ISBN: 9781321134636
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