This study investigated trauma prevalence amongst collegiate student-athletes and openness towards trauma-informed coaching practices among athletes and coaches at two small Division III colleges. Surveys gathered quantitative data from athletes (n = 91) and coaches (n =18) and qualitative data from athletes (n = 33). Quantitative results indicated that 52.7% of athletes experienced at least one potentially traumatic event during their lifetime. The most prevalent trauma was unwanted sexual contact. Additionally, 50.5% of athletes experienced sport-based harassment or abuse during their lifetime, with 21.7% of affected athletes experiencing said abuse in college sports. Athletes reported that 8 out of 10 trauma-informed coaching techniques included in the study were already implemented or desired for implementation at rates between 73.2–93.1% on their teams. Coaches also showed support for trauma-informed coaching, with 88.2% indicating they believed the practice was necessary in college athletics and a large majority of coaches agreeing or strongly agreeing with 8 out of 10 techniques. Qualitative results highlighted the variety of impacts that traumatic experiences have on athletes. The most reported themes were negative psychological and performance effects. Findings support the idea that trauma-informed coaching is necessary and desired in collegiate athletics.
trauma, trauma-informed coaching
Hertzler-McCain, Elizabeth Alma; McQuillen, Aerin; Setty, Shalini; Lopez, Stephanie; and Tibbetts, Erica, "Trauma Prevalence and Desire for Trauma-Informed Coaching in Collegiate Sports: A Mixed Methods Study" (2023). Exercise and Sport Studies: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.