Social Support Provided to Injured Student-Athletes

Alexis L. de Groot – Columbia University
Anthony G. Weaver – Elon University
Sydney N. Brown – Elon University
Eric E. Hall – Elon University


Injury to student-athletes at a competitive level is often unavoidable. Although student-athletes receive the necessary care to help rehabilitate the physical injury, many studies have found the importance of social support to the student-athlete’s overall well-being following an injury. The purpose of this study is to better understand injured student-athletes’ perceptions of social support and whether additional resources during their recovery process would enhance their overall well-being. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with collegiate studentathletes that have suffered a severe injury. Findings indicate that student-athletes, due to their injury, are forced into a new role on their team. Many of the participants struggled with their new role, which led to a difficult injury recovery process requiring more social support. Social support from those around them seemed to diminish as the recovery process continued. Participants had an expectation that coaches, trainers, administration and teammates should be more aware of the need for support. Finally, student-athletes had several recommendations to improve the social support provided during the recovery process. Higher education administrators, staff, and coaches can use the results and specific recommendations to improve the formal and informal support provided to severely injured student-athletes.