Brittany Epple’s MA Thesis Proposal

Title: “Coping with the Emotional Experience of Multiple Concussions in Varsity Sport”

Supervisor: Dr. Peter Crocker (Kinesiology)
Committee Members: Dr. Michael Koehle (Kinesiology), Dr. Andrea Bundon (Kinesiology)

Abstract: Sport-related concussions are emerging as a growing health concern, with the documented occurrence doubling over the last decade (Mrazik et al., 2016). Susceptibility to more severe subsequent concussions increases after the first occurrence, and is often accompanied by a negative emotional experience (Elbin et al., 2014). One key to successfully overcoming injury is an ability to cope with this emotional experience, and it is unknown how athletes cope with it in the context of sport-related concussion (Hutchison et al., 2009). The objective of this proposed study is to explore the emotional experiences of athletes who have suffered multiple (i.e. two or more) concussions. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with twelve varsity sport athletes who have fully recovered and returned to sport will be conducted to explore this issue. Interviews will focus on the athletes’ psychological and emotional experiences with multiple concussions, how concussions impacted their sport career, their cognitive appraisal of the injury and how they attempted to cope with the injury accordingly. They will will be transcribed verbatim followed by a thematic analysis of the data following Clarke and Braun’s (2016) guidelines to find patterns and themes that describe the emotional experience with concussion. From these interviews, I will aim to gain an understanding of the emotional experiences of athletes with multiple concussions, how they appraise and cope with them, as well as identify any similarities or differences in how men and women athletes experience and cope with concussion.