Masters of Education in Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects


The NCAA and member institutions claim the responsibility to support and protect collegiate athletes with a priority on their well-being (NCAA, 2014). Although the NCAA provides financial assistance to selected career-ending injured athletes, university athletic departments define the assistance they offer their athletes who obtain career-ending injuries before their athletic eligibility is up (NCAA, 2014). Therefore, there are no universal policies, procedures, or standards in place to ensure that each injured athlete’s well-being is supported and protected during this traumatic life event (Walsh, 2013). Due to the lack of knowledge on written policies and procedures enforced by athletic departments when an athlete sustains a career-ending injury (Rohrs & Paule-Koba, 2014), this research study investigated the current written policies and procedures related to handling the situation and transition of an athlete obtaining a career-ending injury enforced in the 2014-2015 student-athlete handbooks of 23 Division I NCAA university athletic departments from the B1G and MAC conferences. Using thematic textual analytic procedures (Braun & Clarke, 2006), findings revealed written policies used to guide the majority of NCAA Division I athletic departments’ handling of athletes with career-ending injuries were inadequate, and discovered scarce, inconsistent written procedures enforcing adherence to these policies. The majority of written policies focused on the renewal and non-renewal of athletic aid. Findings implied there is more the NCAA and its institutions can do to fulfill their mission in providing career-ending injured collegiate athletes with consistent protection and support for their overall well-being during their transition out of sport. Implications included increased mandates enforced by the NCAA and educating sport administrators, coaches, and athletes on the transitional process out of competitive sports due to a career-ending injury.

Keywords: career-ending injury, college athletics, sport administration, sport retirement


Amanda Paule-Koba

Second Reader

Ray Schneider








Sport Administration