Understanding and supporting athletes and their overall health and welfare has been a prominent specialty service area that social workers have formally and informally navigated for decades. And today, the need for sports social workers with advanced training has never been more requested across sport settings (youth, collegiate, professional, and geriatric). Research currently suggests that: (1) athletes engage in sport across the lifespan to foster a greater sense of belonging and social connection; (2) athlete mental health needs are increasing and licensed, mental health providers are needed to meet this growing demand; and (3) athletes are using their platform to address social injustices and bring awareness to long-standing disparities across our country. As established agents of change, social workers uphold the profession's mission and core values, while having an expansive scope of practice to improve outcomes for individuals, communities, and the larger society.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), American Psychological Association (APA) and other adjacent accrediting bodies do not currently require mental health professionals to engage in curriculum specific to understanding sports across the lifespan. This program was created with the intention of advancing social workers knowledge, skills and abilities as it relates to sports.
- understand the history of sport social work in the United States,
- develop a functional working knowledge of the roles that sport social workers play across all levels of social work practice;
- promote healthy relationships, encourage help-seeking behaviors, and establish and implement strategies for mental health programming that aligns with the mission and structure of an organization;
- understand the role sport plays in athletes' identities across the lifespan, embracing the “Once an Athlete, Always an Athlete" approach;
- apply evidence-informed practices in clinical settings, research and social justice advocacy.
The certificate program is taught by nationally-recognized leaders in sports and will cover program development and implementation, mental health symptoms and how they manifest in athletes, crisis management, integrated care models currently utilized, sport performance skills, communication and relationships on teams, ethical research practices, the value of sport and social justice advocacy, identity and transitions, nutrition, concussion management, sleep, and more!
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106