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Out there in the real world, one athletic trainer experienced the following:

While working in the athletic training room one day, I made a referral to the college counselor for an athlete who suffered from severe depression. This athlete had just suffered an unhappy triad in his knee and was struggling with a season-ending injury. He also had personal issues at home that he was dealing with prior to the injury, which seemed to compound after the surgery on his knee. The athlete missed several rehabilitation appointments, and when he did show up his mood was low and he made comments that I found alarming. I remember thinking that he couldn't mean these disparaging statements about his life, but I knew that I had to err on the side of caution and report his psychological condition to the college counselor, the college doctor, and the coach. After receiving counseling and further medical care for his knee, he made a full recovery from his knee surgery and was able to achieve emotional stability. This situation taught me that sometimes athletes endure emotional stress caused by situations in their life that are not always apparent to others. Therefore, always be empathetic toward your athletes and refer anyone who might be struggling emotionally or might be in danger of harming himself or herself or others.

Kim Isaac, MS, AT, ATC

Wilmington College

Wilmington, Ohio


learning outcomes

After working through this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the warning signs of patients exhibiting abnormal social, emotional, and mental behaviors.

  2. Describe the psychology of an injury and techniques that can be used to help a patient during injury rehabilitation and return to activity.

  3. Identify and properly refer patients to various mental health-care providers when patients are in need of mental health care.

  4. Identify the signs and symptoms of patients with eating disorders, the psychological factors associated with each disorder, and the appropriate management and referral.


Brenda Krohn is a collegiate women's basketball coach. Her team's record this year is 15–2 with only 3 weeks left in the regular season. The team members have done everything that she has asked of them and more. Ms. Krohn should be a coach that is basking in her team's success, but instead she has noticed a lack of concentration, fatigue, and episodes of drowsiness in the afternoon. She also has a history of clinical depression. Being concerned about her symptoms, she talks with the team's athletic trainer. They discuss her medical history and the possibility of her having seasonal affective disorder (SAD; Fig. 20-1).

Figure 20-1:

Seasonal affective disorder.

  1. Based on this scenario, ...

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