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Group Counseling Student Athletes 1

Group Counseling Student Athletes

Jennifer Sabol

EDCO 555

Professor Mark Quick

Group Counseling Student Athletes 2

Group Counseling Student Athletes

Being a teenager is hard enough as it is, you have school, friends, family, work

and some students have sports. Student athletes are different from regular students

because they devote a certain number of hours a week to the sport(s) that they play. This

takes time away from the things that are mentioned above. They tend to spend less time

on schoolwork, hanging with school friends, and being with their family. Student

athletes may need to be counseled based on events that happen on campus. The

correlation between student athletes and alcohol/drug use tend to go together. Group

counseling for high-risk students could help prevent problems with athletes and promote

good behavior through upcoming students.

Student athletes tend to be more social and adapt better to social situations than

other students. Being labeled as the cool kids, or the popular crowd because they shine

in athletics is one factor that makes them at higher risk of using drugs and alcohol. Being

a part of a team can boost self-esteem and give them a more positive outlook on life and

how they see themselves and their future. However, if they get caught up in deviant

behavior it could jeopardize their chances of reaching their goals. Student athletes may

be offered college scholarships based on their skill level and college athletes have a

harder time adjusting to the academic workload.

Academically student athletes could benefit from group counseling in many ways.

They could be offered support in homework and establish good study habits, they could

learn from older peers what has worked for them and what has not been successful.

Students that are on the border of being ineligible could be offered a group to help them

get their grades up and work on why they are having trouble getting things done.
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Academically some people think that student athletes have an easier time because they

get graded easier during season. This does happen but it is not very prevalent and most

teachers give some Leigh way but not much more than what non-athlete students get.

Athletes should not think that they could do less work and get a good grade just because

they are in a sport. Having a group where students could go to get some homework help

or talk about how they feel about playing could help some students.

Student athletes are deemed higher at risk for use of Drugs and alcohol based on

recent research. Research has shown that student athletes think that there are fewer

consequences for them and they are at less of a risk to get punished. When in reality

most student athletes have more to loose than non-athletes.

Some of the negative attention that student athletes may bring to the school could

be prevented with group counseling. High school and college student athletes have more

pressure put upon them and one outlet that they utilize is the use of drugs and alcohol.

One thing that a counselor can do is talk to the students who are high risk and discuss the

problems that they may face if they start or continue to use drugs and alcohol. Informing

them about the dangers that they may face now and in college will help them to form

their own opinions about their actions. Having a group for these students to be a part of

will benefit them socially and academically.

In a survey of students at 140 American colleges, Wechsler and colleagues

found that student-athletes engaged in binge drinking more often than non-

athletes. The 2001 NCAA Study of Substance Use Habits of College

Student Athletes (The National Collegiate Athletic Association Research

Staff, 2001), a nationwide investigation of 21,225 participants, noted

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significant involvement in alcohol related consequences across a number

of events including having a hangover (52.4%), nausea or vomiting

(43.7%), and driving a car while under the influence (29.7%). Clearly,

heavy alcohol use and associated consequences remains a serious issue for

coaches, administrators, and campus personnel (Lewis 2008).

Because these students are at such a high risk it would be very beneficial to get them to

understand the consequences of their actions and inform them of problems that they

could encounter. Group counseling should be offered to the leaders of the teams and any

students that have exhibited problem behavior in the past.

Research has shown that student athletes are more prone to use drugs because of

the stress that playing a sport puts on them. In the journal article Drug Use Patterns

among High School Athletes and Non-athletes Naylor discusses the reasons that student

athletes use drugs more frequently than non-athletes. His reasoning is because the

students are stressed, some may be medicating because of pain from injury, and others

may use performance drugs to get an edge on the competition. All these reasons are why

it would be beneficial to have a counseling group that discussed these topics and gave

them support. “While the relationship between drug use and participation in organized

athletics is still unclear, few disagree that early identification of, and education about,

drug use is necessary (Naylor).” Giving students the information in health class would be

one way to help but I feel that there are students that would really need that support of a

group to get the message about the dangers of drugs. The groups could employ the

power of a contract stating that they will be a drug free athlete through the season and

will not partake in any illegal activity. I think that this would be one way to suppress the
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incidents of student athlete drug use and promote a healthy lifestyle for athletes.

Another way to counsel for student athletes would be to talk with parents

and coaches about college and their student’s options. Having a group meeting for

parents to come with their students and get info on recruiting, expectations of college

athletes, schools that their students should apply to, and to have support from other

people that may have dealt with these situations before could come in handy. Because it

is hard to understand what goes into getting recruited for a sport it would be beneficial to

have a support group accessible to parents and students. When I was applying for college

and looking for schools to play at, I was confused on what the rules were and how to go

about getting looked at. If I would have had some way to talk to people about it I think I

would have done a better job and gotten more offers to play at other schools. “A major

objective of the counselor, as consultant, would be to increase parents' and coaches'

awareness of the developmental tasks confronting student-athletes and to educate them to

the critical role each plays in the lives of student-athletes (Goldberg).”

In conclusion, student athletes are high risk for participating in drugs and alcohol,

having groups to counsel them would be helpful and supportive. Studies have shown that

student athletes are one of the largest populations of students that drink and do drugs in

college. Educating our students and giving them support systems in high school will help

them make good decisions and keep them out of harms way. One way that the counselor

can be helpful is to be a consultant and to have information to give the students, coaches,

and parents. Contracts for all student athletes are one way to ensure that they understand

the consequences of their actions. We need to be there for our students and support them.

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Goldberg, A. (1991). Counseling the high school student-athlete.

School Counselor, 38(5), 332. Retrieved from Academic Search

Premier database.




ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION. College Student Journal, 42(3), 818-

831. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Naylor, A., Gardner, D., & Zaichkowsky, L. (2001). Drug Use Patterns

among High School Athletes and Nonathletes. Adolescence,

36(144), 627-39. Retrieved from ERIC database.