Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Human Performance and Health Education

First Advisor

Zeljka Vidic

Second Advisor

John Coumbe-Lilley


Authors: Brielle R. Gomez, Zeljka Vidic, Ph.D., & John E. Coumbe-Lilley Ph.D.

Title: Female Athletes’ Psychological and Emotional Experiences Following Sports Injury Requiring Surgery

Background: This study examines the current understanding of the emotional recovery process of women athletes who underwent surgery.

Objective: This investigation compared multiple recovery processes between female athletes to identify external variables impacting emotional recovery and recommend psychological interventions to enhance rehabilitation and return to play.

Subjects and Methods: Nine semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted and later transcribed to average a 23-page yield. The study focused on the rehabilitation and emotional recovery of nine female athletes (3 professional, 1 semi-professional, 5 college) who suffered injuries during competition followed by surgery. Realistic thematic analysis was used to interpret the interview yield.

Results: Support from coaches and loved ones, and confidence in medical providers were significant to the quality and intensity of emotional recovery. In addition, being informed about the process and goal setting throughout recovery were found to be valuable. Sport injury related growth (SIRG) was identified as a positive process that occurred in five participants. The presence, or lack thereof, revealed how these aspects can impact the process and emotional side of rehabilitation.

Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that emotional recovery is undulating, varying in intensity influenced by the positive or negative interactions with valued medical providers and coaches.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Restricted to Campus until


Available for download on Tuesday, November 05, 2024