College athletics can place immense demands on athletes in terms of time commitment, physical conditioning, and pressure to perform. However, one important but less visible dimension affected by participation is one’s identity. College athletes hold multiple identities (Sturm et al., 2011) and these identities are further refined through their experiences (Chang et al., 2018). However, much less is known about athletes’ cognitive awareness of others’ perceptions and how those opinions influence athletes’ sense of self. In the present work, 52 Division I collegiate basketball players took part in a qualitative survey focused on understanding their athletic experience based on interactions with others. Responses revealed that athletes had dichotomous beliefs when addressing their perceptions of self and how they believed others viewed them, primarily based on the influence of sport. Conversely, athletes had more differing thoughts when discussing their aspirations and wishes for their future and often discussed professional goals, personality traits, and connections to others. Taken together, these results corroborate the desire (and need) for athletes to foster identities beyond their sport world (Stokowski et al., 2019) and for those who shape the sport experience to proactively work on behalf of athletes in this domain.
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Paule-Koba, Amanda L. and Gilson, Todd A., "Not a Student, Not an Athlete, a Person" (2023). School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Faculty Publications. 18.
Journal of Higher Education Athletics & Innovation
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