Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Study of an Elite Rifle Shooter

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David A. Shearer University of Glamorgan, UK

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Stephen D. Mellalieu Swansea University, UK

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Catherine R. Shearer Sport Wales, UK

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While posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with survivors of traumatic events (e.g., combat), PTSD can occur after any situation in which victims perceive that their life or safety is threatened. In sport, athletes often place themselves in dangerous situations and are also exposed to the same lifestyle dangers as the general population. The literature on PTSD among athletes is sparse, and consequently, it is possible that many (non-clinical) sport psychologists would fail to recognize the symptoms and may subsequently fail to refer the athlete to the appropriate professional for clinical assistance. In the following case study, we present an example of an athlete suffering from PTSD following a serious bicycle accident in which she sustained head and facial injuries. We briefly detail the nature of PTSD and discuss how sport psychology services can be implemented alongside a parallel clinical intervention program. Finally, we offer recommendations for practice when working with athletes with PTSD.

David A. Shearer is with the Department of Psychology, Education, and Careers at the University of Glamorgan, UK; Stephen D. Mellalieu is with Sports Science, School of Engineering, Swansea University, UK; Catherine R. Shearer is with Sport Wales, Welsh Institute of Sport, Cardiff, UK.

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