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.
Cassandra M. Seguin and Diane M. Culver
ZáNean McClain, Erin Snapp, and Daniel W. Tindall
Shakiba Oftadeh-Moghadam and Paul Gorczynski
The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the prevalence of mental health symptoms and disorders in rugby players. Six electronic databases were searched in December 2020. Studies were included if they provided quantitative data on mental health symptoms and disorders and consisted of adult rugby players. Eight studies were included, covering symptoms of anxiety, depression, alcohol use/misuse, distress, sleeping/sleep disturbance, and eating disorders/adverse nutrition behaviors. Prevalence of mental health symptoms ranged from 6% (depression) to 68.8% (alcohol use/misuse). Most rates were similar to the general population, while symptoms of sleeping/sleep disturbance were lower, and symptoms of eating disorders/adverse nutrition behaviors and alcohol use/misuse were higher than the general population. One study included female rugby players. Epidemiological evidence comprising of rigorous diagnostic data and inclusive of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and other protected characteristics is needed to inform future mental health support in this population.
Jordyn Vienneau, Sandro Nigg, and Benno M. Nigg
This study compared electromyography of five leg muscles during a single walking task (WALK) to a dual task (walking + cognitive task; COG) in 40 individuals (20 M and 20 F) using a wavelet analysis technique. It was hypothesized that muscle activation during the dual task would differ significantly from the walking task with respect to both timing (H1) and frequency (H2). The mean overall intensity for the COG trials was 4.1% lower for the tibialis anterior and 5.5% higher for the gastrocnemius medialis than in the WALK trials. The changes between the WALK and COG trials were short 50 ms bursts that occurred within 100 ms of heel strike in the tibialis anterior, and longer activation periods during the stance phase in the gastrocnemius medialis. No changes in overall intensity were observed in the peroneus longus, gastrocnemius lateralis, or soleus. Furthermore, no clear frequency bands within the signal could further characterize the overall changes in muscle activity during the COG task. This advances our understanding of how the division of attentional resources affects muscle activity in a healthy population of adults.
Dafne Pires Pinto, Pedro Vieira Sarmet Moreira, and Luciano Luporini Menegaldo
This paper investigates whether a group of regular Yoga practitioners shows postural control differences compared with healthy controls while performing single-leg Yoga postures. Ten Yoga practitioners were compared with a control group of 10 nonpractitioners performing two single-leg support Yoga postures: Vrksasana (tree posture) and Natarajasana (dancer posture). Rambling and trembling decomposition of the center of pressure trajectories was implemented using a genetic algorithm spectral optimization that avoids using horizontal forces and was validated with bipedal posture data. Additionally, the center of mass was estimated from body kinematics using OpenSim and compared with the rambling outputs. During Natarajasana, no postural control adaptations were observed. For Vrksasana, the Yoga practitioners showed a lower center of pressure ellipse confidence interval area, center of pressure anteroposterior SD, and smaller rambling SD in the mediolateral direction, suggesting possible supraspinal feed-forward motor adaptations associated with Yoga training.
Nick Galli, Skye Shodahl, and Mark P. Otten
Because an athletes’ body is central to their identity, it is important to consider the ramifications of retirement from sport on their well-being. Using a single-group pre–post test design, the purpose of this exploratory study was to expand on the current state of knowledge regarding the body image and health behavior transition of retired intercollegiate athletes. Ten athletes from three institutions completed demographic and health behavior questions, the Body-Image Ideals Questionnaire, and selected items from the Body Parts Satisfaction Scale-Revised online prior to and after retirement (M = 305 days). Although most athletes reported maintaining healthy patterns of nutrition and physical activity in retirement, results showed that body satisfaction significantly declined, and that actual–ideal body discrepancy increased, albeit to a nonsignificant degree. National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics departments to consider how they can more effectively empower athletes to take care of and appreciate their body even after the final performance.
Graig M. Chow, Lindsay M. Garinger, Jaison Freeman, Savanna K. Ward, and Matthew D. Bird
The aim of this study was to investigate expert practitioners’ approaches to conducting a first sport psychology session with individual clients as there is sparse empirical literature on this topic. Nine expert Certified Mental Performance Consultants completed a semistructured interview where they discussed experiences conducting a first meeting with an athlete. Primary objectives included establishing the relationship, setting guidelines and expectations, understanding the client’s background, identifying presenting concerns, and formulating the treatment plan and building skills. Building rapport was an aspect used to establish the relationship while discussing confidentiality was utilized to set guidelines. Important strategies employed to increase the perceived benefits to services included conveying the consulting approach and philosophy. Lessons learned centered around doing too much and not appreciating individual differences of clients. Findings show expert consultants aim to achieve similar broad objectives in the first session and provide a basis for best practices in this area.