Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


College athletes-Psychology, College athletes-Mental health services, Brain-Concussion-Psychological aspects, Concussions, College athletes, Exploratory


This exploratory study was undertaken to determine the extent to which college athletes access mental health services after sustaining concussions and their experience surrounding their recovery process. Using semi-structured interviews with college-level athletes, the study found that all nine participants were required to seek medical attention following their injury, while none were required or encouraged to seek mental health services such as counseling. Other emerging themes included the experience of Post Concussion Syndrome symptoms by all participants, the stigma surrounding mental health, the need for alternative methods of treatment, and the need for structure and support through the recovery process. This study concluded that despite the literature and experiential knowledge supporting the benefits of having a mental health alliance during the recovery from a concussion, attention is not given to the mental health of a recovering athlete at the collegiate level. Therefore, this study suggests that as clinicians who often work with these populations, social workers need to not only understand the impact that a concussion can have on an individual, but also advocate for the need for further support and mental health care for this vulnerable population.




ii, 38 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 31-32)