Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project

Department

Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Emily Vala-Haynes

Honors Program Director

Dr. Gavin Keulks

Abstract

Collegiate student athletes are in a vulnerable age group for many mental health concerns, and many athlete-specific stressors such as injury heighten these conditions. In addition to the physical ramifications of injury, student athletes often experience psychological reactions to injury such as depression, anxiety, identity loss, disordered eating, and substance abuse. To support the needs of injured student athletes, the NCAA Mental Health Best Practices guide states that student athletes should have easy access to mental health care providers of multiple disciplines through a cohesive network of coaches, the athletic department, athletic trainers, team doctors, and certified counselors working together for the athlete’s wellbeing. Consequently, my thesis aimed to investigate ways to triangulate these sources at Western Oregon University (WOU) to better support the needs of student athletes following injury. To achieve this goal, I compiled peer-reviewed literature on mental health in collegiate student athletes post-injury, interviewed members of the athletic department, athletic training staff, and counselors at the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC), and made recommendations to the University regarding policies and procedures they can implement to better support the needs of injured student athletes at WOU.

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