Date of Award


Document Type



Richard W.Riley College of Education

Degree Program

Physical Education, Sport, and Human Performance

Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Alice McLaine

Committee Member

Shelley Hamill

Committee Member

Martha Rivera


Background: Recent studies have evaluated the physical problems as well as the psychological complications that arise from sport injuries. However, little research has been done on techniques to address or mitigate these psychological issues. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate how social support was perceived during the injury rehabilitation process and how it influenced return to play preparedness. Setting: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I mid-major university. Participants: A total of 21 previously injured student-athletes participated in the study. Methods: Through this mixed method study, each student-athlete completed a validated social support survey that evaluated perceived social support provided from athletic trainers, coaches, and teammates during the rehabilitation process. Following the survey, participants had the opportunity to participate in a follow-up interview on preparedness to return to play. Results: Participants felt athletic trainers and teammates provided more social support than coaches. In addition, participants identified social support as a key factor in their return to play. Conclusion: The results appear to support the significance of social support during the injury recovery process and return to play. More emphasis needs to be put on social support to improve patient outcomes.