Understanding Student-Athlete Reintegration: Using Social Work Strengths

Charlotte E. Dean – Port Human Services
Jerry F. Reynolds II – Louisiana State University


The reintegration process that follows a student athlete’s unplanned retirement from sport is common among student-athletes. Upon reintegration there are factors that influence an athlete’s ability to remain on campus. These include positive social supports, personal skills, coping skills, and goal setting. There are also more negative reintegration factors such as isolation and role engulfment, limited social supports, lack of preparation, limited personal living skills and emotional regulation, and negative stereotypes from the general collegiate population. A case study helps illustrate the difficulties that a student-athlete may encounter during the reintegration process and how professionals can assist in a more positive transition. The purpose of this article is to provide valuable references to those who may encounter or seek to better assist former athletes who experience challenges with reintegration.