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NCAA Student-Athlete COVID-19 Well-being Study

The NCAA Student-Athlete COVID-19 Well-being Study was designed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student-athletes’ current physical and mental well-being. The survey was designed by NCAA Research in collaboration with the NCAA Sport Science Institute and the three national SAAC governing bodies. Over 37,000 student-athletes responded to the survey, spanning the three divisions, all sports and athletics conferences. Key findings include:

  • A majority of participants reported experiencing high rates of mental distress since the outset of the pandemic. Over a third reported experiencing sleep difficulties, more than a quarter reported feeling sadness and a sense of loss, and 1 in 12 reported feeling so depressed it has been difficult to function, “constantly” or “most every day.”
  • While 80% reported knowing how to access a medical provider for physical health needs, 60% of men and 55% of women reported that they know how to access mental health support in their current location.
  • 4 in 5 athletes surveyed indicated that both local regulations and a lack of access to appropriate facilities were barriers to athletics training. Other emotional barriers included a fear of exposure to COVID-19 (43%), lack of motivation (40%), feelings of stress or anxiety (21%), and sadness or depression (13%).
  • Over 70% of participants indicated feeling positive about their ability to pass their courses this semester and over half (51%) indicated feeling positive about their ability to keep up with classes this semester.
  • Nearly 90% of student-athletes surveyed reported communicating with teammates multiple times per week and 56% reported communicating with coaches multiple times a week. Generally, the more frequently participants communicated with teammates and athletics staff, the more likely they were to report feeling positive about such communication.
  • Participants indicated they would generally look to coaches as their primary source for information related to training, physical well-being, mental health and social connections during this time. Many reported they would look to their athletics department in terms of academic support, career planning and financial assistance resources. The resource most requested from the NCAA was information about the fall semester and return to play.