The Impact of Injury on Health-Related Quality of Life in College Athletes

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a broad term for the impact of injury or illness on physical, psychological, and social health dimensions. Injury has been associated with decreased HRQOL in athletes. However, the influence of injury history, participation status, time since last injury, and injury severity on HRQOL remains unclear.


To compare HRQOL in collegiate athletes based on injury history, participation status, time since last injury, and injury severity and to examine relationships between HRQOL outcomes.




3 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) institutions.


467 collegiate athletes (199 males, 268 females; 19.5 ± 1.3 y, 173.9 ± 10.5 cm, 71.9 ± 13.6 kg) were recruited from NCAA Division I (n = 299) and Division III (n = 168) institutions. Athletes were included regardless of participation status, which created a diverse sample of current and past injury histories.

Main Outcome Measures:

During a single session, participants completed an injury history form, the Disablement in the Physically Active Scale (DPA), and the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ). Dependent variables included DPA-Physical Summary Component (DPA-PSC), DPA-Mental Summary Component (DPA-MSC), and FABQ Scores.


HRQOL differences were detected between groups based on injury history, participation status, and time since last injury. No differences were detected for injury severity. A moderate correlation was identified between the DPA-PSC and FABQ (rs = 0.503, P < .001) and a weak relationship was identified between the DPA-MSC and FABQ (rs = 0.266, P < .001).


Injury negatively influenced HRQOL in athletes with a current injury. While those individuals participating injured reported better HRQOL than the athletes sidelined due to injury, deficits were still present and should be monitored to ensure a complete recovery. Identifying the patient’s perception of impairment will help facilitate evidencebased treatment and rehabilitation strategies that target the physical and psychosocial aspects of health.

Houston is with the Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery, Keller Army Community Hospital, West Point, NY. JM Hoch and MC Hoch are with the Division of Athletic Training, Dept of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. Van Lunen is with the School of Physical Therapy & Athletic Training, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.

Houston ( is corresponding author.