Athletic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affect high school student-athletes social-emotional well-being

Dustin P. Collins, Andrew R. Jagim, John P. Sowders, Joseph D. Blessman, Madison L. McLachlan, Nathaniel E. Miller, Emily G. Garrison, Mark Kuisle, Chad A. Asplund, Gregory M. Garrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To examine whether high school student-athletes who experienced more COVID-19 disruptions had increased anxiety, increased dejection, increased anger, decreased excitement, and decreased happiness as measured by the validated Sports Emotion Questionnaire (SEQ). During the COVID-19 pandemic high school student-athletes faced disruptions which resulted in cancelation of competitions, reduced in-person training sessions, and quarantine of athletes. The impact of these disruptions on the mental health and well-being of student-athletes is unknown. An anonymous cross-sectional online survey was electronically distributed to high school student-athletes in one school district during the spring of the 2020 to 21 academic year. Basic demographic questions, sport information, and personal and team disruptions were collected. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess correlation between each emotional domain on the SEQ with independent variables such as personal or teammate quarantines, cancelations, season, sport gender, indoor or outdoor location, and level of competition. 125 surveys were returned representing 28 different sports. Student-athletes who were personally quarantined (22.4%) during their athletic season experienced greater dejection (β = 0.78, P = .003) and greater anger (β = 0.78, P = .005). Those with teammates quarantined (61.6%) experienced more anxiety (β = 0.30, P = .048). Spring sports, which faced fewer restrictions, were associated with less anger (β = -0.48, P = .048). Student-athletes who were directly affected by COVID-19 disruptions experienced increased anxiety, more dejection, and more anger. Public health authorities and school districts should minimize disruptions to athletic participation using established COVID-19 safety protocols to avoid causing harm to athletes' social-emotional well-being. If athletics must be disrupted, student-athletes should receive wellness support and virtual or remote training options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA163
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 23 2022


  • COVID-19
  • adolescents
  • high school
  • mental health
  • sports medicine
  • student athletics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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