Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Thomas Buckley

Committee Member 1

Daniel R. Czech

Committee Member 2

Jody Langdon

Abstract

An estimated 1.6-3.8 million people suffer a concussion annually in the United States. Concussions are becoming an increasingly mainstream topic, especially with the amount coverage of concussions in different media outlets. Furthermore, peers such as athletic trainers, friends, coaches, and parents that may influence their experience of concussions. The purpose of this study was to examine NCAA Division I student-athletes' lived experiences of an in-season concussion. A phenomenological approach was used. The following open-ended question was asked: "Can you tell me about your experience of having your most recent concussion?" The research participants consisted of 4 in-season collegiate student-athletes, 18-21 years old. The participants were withheld from activity per the institution's concussion policy and interviewed within six months of their return to play. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Pseudonyms were used to ensure participant anonymity and confidentiality. The researcher used triangulation to maintain validity by using member checks, peer reviews, other members of the research team, a bracketing interview. 6 major themes developed from the research including: Focus on Symptoms, Emotional Response to Injury, Experiences of Concussion Testing, Fear of Failing to Meet Teammate Expectations, Support From Friends and Family, and Effect on School. Emotional Response to Injury and Symptoms were the most prevalent themes with their experiences following suit with previous research. Some participants seemed to struggle with schoolwork, which supports the cognitive rest theories that are currently being used to help treat concussions in some areas. Overall concussions are very individualized injuries and athletic trainers should be aware of athletes' personalities and use compassion to help them recover from their concussion.

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