Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Kinesiology (MKin)


Kinesiology and Physical Education


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Tracey

Advisor Role



The physical component of recovery is pertinent to success in sport performance, yet there has been an increase in awareness of psychological symptoms and psychological distress experienced by injured athletes. Thus, the psychological aspect of injuries and return to sport (RTS) process cannot be ignored. Psychological readiness (PR) is described by Podlog et al. (2015), Donald (2019), and Podlog et al. (2022) as a dynamic psychological process including factors of realistic expectation, confidence, motivation, and focus. PR addresses the psychological component necessary for a successful RTS. Measurement tools have been developed to assess PR, yet not all factors of PR are represented due in part to the lack of consensus on its definition and factors.

The aim of this study was to seek an in-depth understanding of student-athlete (SA) and athletic therapists’ (AT) experiences of PR throughout the rehabilitation, return to training, and return to competition process during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous knowledge of PR was used as a framework to build upon and to enhance understanding of the phenomenon. A series of interviews were conducted with three SAs and three ATs to inform how PR is experienced and identified when returning to sport post-injury.

A reflexive thematic analysis produced four overarching themes: COVID-19 pandemic, assessing PR, PR, and AT-SA relationship. SA data generated similar broad topics (COVID-19 pandemic, assessing PR, and PR) and introduced two unique themes regarding mental preparedness and social support. The findings from the study addressed the research questions while also investigating the underlying mechanisms of PR. A modified definition for PR is proposed. Recommendations and implications from the findings are forwarded to help better develop the definition of PR, its associated factors, and how to identify PR.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Available for download on Friday, November 07, 2025