The Changing Sense of Who I Am: Social Support and Re-negotiating Identity after Sports-Related Concussions in Female Athletes

Title: The Changing Sense of Who I Am: Social Support and Re-negotiating Identity after Sports-Related Concussions in Female Athletes

Description: Concussions and their impact on athletes have been recognized as a pressing concern within sports. Associated symptoms are manifold, including their invisibility to outsiders. Female athletes have been found to be at higher risk of experiencing sports-related concussions and have generally reported experiencing more severe symptomology compared to male athletes. Despite extensive research on the general psychosocial impact of sports-related injuries, little has been done in terms of understanding a female athletes’ experiences post-concussion, particularly in relation to possible changes in their identity and appropriate social support post-concussion. Within this study, I examine how female athletes make sense of their lived experiences following a sports-related concussion with regards to their sense of identity, how they navigate possible changes, and what types of support they received and find helpful. Furthermore, I aim to understand how support persons perceive changes of identity in the athlete and how they understand their role as social supports for female athletes who have experienced concussions.

Specifics: Study Population:
- Female competitive athletes (ages 18-30) who have experienced a physician-diagnosed concussion within the last 3 months to 6 years and have been cleared to return to moderate physical activity
- Support persons of a female competitive athlete

Participant Obligation:
After eligibility is determined via phone, participants will be asked to engage in one to two 1-2hr interviews about their experiences. Interviews will be conducted via phone or a video-conferencing platform.

Upon completion of all interviews, a random prize draw for each participant population (i.e., athletes and support persons) for a one of two $50 Amazon gift cards will be conducted.

Location: Online - Calgary, AB

Project lead: Franziska Kintzel, Supervisor: Dr. José Domene

Study Dates: July 27, 2021 to November 15, 2021