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CONTEXT: The COVID-19 pandemic led to an abrupt disruption in access to services and personnel for collegiate student-athletes in the spring and summer of 2020. We sought to identify the effects of this unprecedented change by examining the psychological well-being, changes to normal routines, and return-to-play considerations of current student-athletes in order to guide support for both current and future student-athletes who may face similar situations. METHODS: We utilized a phenomenological approach to interview a purposeful sample of eighteen collegiate student-athletes (7 males, 11 females; mean age = 20 years) from across the United States. The participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol, which was audio recorded and transcribed verbatim using Zoom. The data were then analyzed and coded by a 3-person team via the consensual qualitative research tradition. RESULTS: Four domains emerged after data analysis: 1) ambiguity, 2) perspective, 3) bonding and cohesion, and 4) resource utilization. Participants discussed ambiguity in terms of eligibility and participation questions, academic changes, and varying COVID-19 policies. Participants shared a wide range of perspectives, from apprehension at the onset of the pandemic, to excitement when returning to campus and competition. They shared how bonding and team development were affected due to a lack of socialization and that support system dynamics between family, coaches, and teammates were strengthened. When describing resource utilization, participants discussed the use of personnel and supplies to help them adjust to changes in facility and space availability. The identification and utilization of resources enabled them to establish a "new normal" for their academics, workouts, and hobbies during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Collegiate student-athletes realized the seriousness of the pandemic and utilized their resources and support systems to adjust their routines and keep a positive attitude during COVID-19. At the same time, some student-athletes struggled with these changes. Personnel should be aware of these effects to provide care and prevent future negative effects.

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Rowe, D. C., Winkelmann, Z. K., Arent, S. M., Arent, M. A., Chandler, A. J., Uriegas, N. A., & Torres-McGehee, T. M. (2022). A qualitative report of the perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic from collegiate student-athletes. AIMS public health, 9(2), 357–377.


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