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Context: Grief is something that will touch all of us. We expect loss to occur in our personal lives and seem to be somewhat prepared for how to cope with it when it happens. In the profession of athletic training, we may not expect loss to occur as readily–especially if we are working with a young, seemingly healthy population. As such, when an athlete, student, or colleague suffers a catastrophic injury, illness, or death, we may not be able to process the loss and be left with unresolved grief.

Objective: The purpose of this article is to review theories on grief, identify successful interventions by allied health care providers and offer suggestions on how to implement teaching strategies within athletic training curriculum regarding the issues of death, dying, and coping strategies.

Data Sources: We searched various databases, including MEDLINE, ERIC, SportDiscus, and CINAHL Information Systems using the terms grieving, death, bereavement, loss, and coping.

Data Synthesis: Pertinent articles were cross-referenced to gain additional information regarding the search terms.

Conclusions: Athletic trainers should consider using strategies that introduce issues concerning bereavement, death, dying, and healthy coping skills into the athletic training curriculum. Additionally, it is critical to create a support network for athletic training professionals and students to use in time of loss.

Original Citation

Maurer-Starks, S., Wise, K., Leone, J., & Kitsos, J. (2010). Who Helps the Helper? Lessons on Grieving. Athletic Training Education Journal. 5(1), 21-25.