Athletes; Division 1; emotional response; injury; NCAA; psychological response; rehabilitation; self-identity; social support; sports
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, “In the last 10 years, college sports have flourished, with athletes required to train and compete year-round rather than seasonally . . .At the same time, athletes are getting bigger, stronger and more physical – which leads to a greater risk of injury.” Sports injury can be traumatic for many athletes because it is an important component of their self-identity. In addition to the physical pain of an injury, athletes struggle psychologically, however little is known about their emotional response, recovery, and need for social support. The Emotional Response of Athletes to Injury Questionnaire (ERAIQ) was adapted to collect information from athletes at an NCAA Division I university about their response to injury. Two hundred fifty varsity athletes volunteered to participate (127 males and 122 females, mean age = 19.9 years). The athletes represented 14 different teams included individuals who had experienced injuries and those who had not. Frustration and anger were the most strongly experienced emotions. Family and teammates were important sources of social support during recovery. The results suggest several important implications for resources the address the emotional as well as physical rehabilitation from sports injury. Recommendations for college athletic staff are discussed and questions for future research are offered.