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Exploring Female University Athlete Experiences of Coping With Protracted Concussion Symptoms

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
  • | 2 School of Kinesiology and Physical Activity Sciences, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
  • | 3 Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation, Montreal, QC, Canada
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Concussions result in a multitude of somatic, cognitive, and/or emotional symptoms as well as physical and behavior changes and disturbances in balance, cognition, and sleep. Moreover, some concussed athletes can experience these symptoms, changes, and disturbances for extended periods of time. This qualitative study explored the coping skills used by five female university athletes who suffered persistent concussion symptoms for more than 6 weeks. Our analysis of the interview data indicated that the athletes used emotion-focused coping strategies, such as avoidance and acceptance, throughout their recovery. In addition, the lack of perceived control over their injuries, a lack of a symptom-specific treatment protocol, and the type of social support they received influenced their coping abilities. These results add to the limited, yet growing, body of literature on the psychology of sport-related concussions, particularly with respect to identifying the types of resources that athletes may use to cope and manage concussion symptoms.

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