Psychosocial experiences of concussed collegiate athletes: The role of emotional support in the recovery process

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Objective: Understand from whom concussed football players seek and receive emotional support, and whether this support is associated with injury perceptions. Participants: Football players (N = 26) from three NCAA Division I programs. Methods: With approval from the head athletic trainer, concussed athletes (2017 season) completed short surveys within 4–6 days of diagnosis and when cleared to return. Results: Concussed athletes perceived their injury as a normal consequence of playing football, not serious, and reported little, if any, depression and anxiety. Athletes reported the most support from athletic trainers; the least from coaches and teammates. Emotional support was associated with fewer adverse psychosocial reactions, more sport-injury related growth, and greater intentions to report future concussion symptoms. Conclusion: Results from this pilot study suggest that emotional support during the concussion recovery process should be understood and fostered by university officials charged with the health and well-being of collegiate football players.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of American College Health
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Athletics
  • health education
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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