Athletes often experience emotional distress as a result of an injury. Feelings of loss, decreased self-esteem, frustration, and anger are not uncommon. Athletic trainers (ATs) who work with injured athletes are focused on helping the progression of athletes' physical healing, but their role in helping athletes emotionally and psychologically is often unclear. There are twelve Athletic Training Education Competencies that the National Athletic Training Association requires to be taught to undergraduate AT students, one of them being psychosocial intervention and referral. However, little research has been done to define the exact role of ATs in this area, as well as whether or not athletes prefer to receive emotional support from their ATs versus other professionals, such as a sports psychologist, team chaplain, coach, et cetera. Knowing the athletes' preferences can help to guide further research regarding how to educate undergraduate ATs in dealing with potential emotional or psychological distress athletes could experience. Thus, I conducted a survey asking 100 collegiate athletes their opinions on this matter and found that athletes generally prefer emotional support from family, friends, and teammates first, then from their ATs, with coaches, mental health professionals, and ministers following. Furthermore, the main factor affecting athletes’ decision regarding whom to approach for help was found to be the athletes’ comfort level with the individual. There was a significant correlation between comfort level with ATs and perceived professional training of ATs to offer emotional support; thus, I concluded that ATs should continue to be educated in this area.
Dr. Matt Kutz
First Advisor Department
Dr. David Tobar
Second Advisor Department
Kutz, Kristin, "Injured Athletes' Preferences Regarding Source of Emotional Support" (2014). Honors Projects. 117.
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