Psychological and Social Needs: Athletes’ and Mental Performance Consultants’ Perspectives on a Gap in Concussion Protocols

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

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Cassandra M. SeguinDepartment of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

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Diane M. CulverDepartment of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

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While research advancements have substantially improved concussion management efforts, consideration for the psychological and social aspects of concussive injuries have remained largely absent from concussion protocols. The present study was undertaken to identify elite athletes’ psychological and social needs during the recovery process. Elite athletes with a history of concussion and mental performance consultants who work with concussed elite athletes participated in focus group interviews to shed light on these needs. A thematic analysis of these focus groups revealed six psychological and social needs: acceptance, normality, confidence, self-efficacy, trust in relationships, and social support. These themes are framed within concussion literature to help initiate a conversation on how psychological and social needs should be addressed as part of multifaceted efforts to improve concussion recovery.

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