Is There a Need for Social Workers in Intercollegiate Athletics? A Conceptual Study

Raymond Waller – Troy University
Christina Martin – Troy University
Samantha Morgan – Troy University


Research regarding eating disorders among intercollegiate female athletes is well-documented. Since eating disorders have been categorized as potentially serious mental illnesses by the American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2013), professionals need to be knowledgeable and involved in the overall care of college athletes. However, those closest to the athlete such as athletic trainers and coaches often lack the knowledge to detect symptoms and/or ability to assist those afflicted with eating disorders. To make a difference, a health care professional, such as a clinically trained social worker, should be considered to assist with the well-being of athletes. This conceptual study explores the deficiencies of intercollegiate coaches as well as athletic trainers and advocates for the inclusion of qualified social workers as part of a multidisciplinary approach to help intercollegiate female athletes who suffer from eating disorders.