Pandemics and Athletics: How COVID-19 Affected Sport Injury Rehabilitation

Pandemics and Athletics


  • Matt Moore Ball State University
  • Jerry Reynolds Ball State University
  • Kristin Trainor Ball State University
  • Jessi Kiefor Ball State University


sport injury, student-athlete, injury rehabilitation, COVID-19, descriptive phenomenology


Purpose: This study sought to better understand the lived experiences of NCAA student-athletes who suffered an injury during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The study utilized a descriptive phenomenological approach with focus groups. Researchers interviewed eleven student-athletes that fit the inclusion criteria. Researchers analyzed interview transcriptions for themes. Results: Themes included: (1) emotional stress, (2) impact on interpersonal relationships, and (3) delay in recovery. The research team identified subthemes to further expand the concepts illustrated within the main themes. Conclusions: This research provides insight to the common reactions of a student-athlete post-injury, interpersonal impacts on a student-athlete from both their injury and COVID-19, rehabilitation changes due to COVID-19, and a perspective from injured student-athletes on the current availability and effectiveness of athletic training and wrap-around mental-health resources. Applications in Sport: This information proves valuable for athletic trainers, sport psychologists, sport social workers, and other physical and behavioral health providers working to promote the rehabilitation and well-being of an injured athlete during global pandemics.






Research Articles