Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Athletic Training

Committee Chair

Michelle A. Sandrey.


Context. Social support systems can be a key aspect in the overall health of the athlete, both physically and psychologically. It is important to be aware if an athlete is receiving the appropriate social support to aid them through their career. Objective. The purpose of this study is to determine which types of social support systems are used and who provides the different types of support. A secondary purpose is to investigate the types of social support that are perceived to be most important. Design. A prospective descriptive analysis about the influence of social support systems after an athlete is injured within club sports was used. The information was gathered by individual questionnaires as well as a face to face interview. Setting. A NCAA Division I institution in north central West Virginia. Participants and other patients. There were a total of 7 participants, both male and female, that completed the questionnaire and the interview. Seventy one and four tenths percent of the participants played rugby (n=5), while the remaining participants played ice hockey (n=2). The mean age was 21.29 +/- 1.38 Interventions. A 10-item demographic questionnaire and a social support questionnaire on the types of support provided were distributed to the club sport athletes at West Virginia University. There was also a 15 minute interview consisting of 10 questions that each athlete completed. Main outcomes measures. Coaches and certified athletic trainers will play an important role in the social support system in collegiate club sport athletes. Listening support, emotional support, reality conformation, and personal assistance will be ranked as most important to the club sport athletes. Athletic trainers will play an important role in providing listening support, coaches will be important providers of task challenge and task appreciation, and teammates will be important providers of reality conformation and emotional support. Results. The results of this study show that these club sport athletes are overall satisfied with the social support that they have received during injury rehabilitation. Athletic trainers were identified to have provided the most listening support in both the questionnaire (mean rank=1.57, 71.4%, n=5) and the interview. Coaches were also reported to have provided task appreciation (mean rank=1.71, 51.7%, n=4) and task challenge (mean rank=1.29, 71.4%, n=5) Athletic trainers were also the most common reported provider of overall social support in both the interview and the questionnaire (71.4%, n=5). Other common providers of social support mentioned by these athletes were family, teammates/friends, and coaches. The results from the questionnaire did not find any type of social support that was reported as most important. Conclusion. Collegiate club sport athletes are aware and satisfied with the support that they received during injury rehabilitation. These athletes reported how important their athletic trainer's role was in injury rehabilitation. Most club sports do not have an athletic trainer as members of their social support network. This study indicates how important an athletic trainer can be to injured collegiate club sport athletes. These athletes reported that the only aspects of social support that they would have wanted more of is financial assistance and to spend more time on rehabilitation.