Collegiate athletes are frequently exposed to pain/injury, which has the potential to negatively impact their physical and psychological health. This quasi-experimental study investigated the influence of gender and athletic status on deciding whether pain should be reported to the head coach in a vignette. Participants included 236 undergraduates who read four vignettes describing athletes (two men, two women) who were experiencing pain while playing a sport and made recommendations about whether the athlete should report the pain. Regardless of the gender of the athlete in the vignette, women and non-Division I athletes were more confident that the pain should be reported to the coach than men and athletes. Division I athletes’ recommendations for others to report pain did not align with what they reported practicing themselves. These results suggest that athletes and coaches should receive education about the factors that may lead an athlete to choose not to report pain.
The authors are with the Health and Human Values Department, Davidson College, Davidson, NC.