Childhood Trauma: Examining African-Americans' Participation in NCAA Division One Sports - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1067 Words
Date:  2023-01-16


African Americans represent a racial group that is often faced with numerous challenges based on their backgrounds and their abilities to cope with stressful situations. There exists extensive literature on how childhood trauma and behavior impact the lives of adults in the future. The same literature can be used to explain the reasons why childhood trauma among African Americans affect their participation in NCAA division one sports in the future. It is evident that the blacks represent the largest racial group that participate in NCAA division one game. As such, there large numbers of African Americans in these sports means that they have a greater influence on the issue to do with behavior and excellence in sporting activities. The research seeks to establish the reason why childhood trauma affects African Americans participating in sports more than other racial groups. Besides, the research ties the findings to education performance and family support. In this research, I hypothesize that childhood trauma effects African Americans NCAA Division 1 sports players, academics, and family support than any other race.

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Behavior is a psychological aspect that develops throughout the life of a person. Psychologists have come up with different theories that seek to explain behavior development and environmental factors that affect behavior development. Africa Americans represent a group that has shaped American history and continue to live in neighborhoods that can be described to be harsh. Childhood trauma is caused by different factors such as exposure to violence, childhood exploitation, and subjection to hard labor and lack of basic needs (Dean & Rowan, 2014). These conditions are traumatizing to young children who need protection at this critical stage of development. The traumatic experiences of childhood shapes behavior at the same time affects the decision making of children ate later stages in life. According to Cook et al., (2017), childhood experiences develop to adulthood where adults can look to revenge or make decisions-based o their past experiences. It is for this reason why athletes engaging in sporting activities tend to engage in violent behavior and irresponsible decision making.

The behavior of Africa Americans engaging in NCAA division 1 sports has often been described to be violent. The violent nature of blacks in these sports has seen the majority of them being sent off or banned from sports. Sports demand disciplines and are guided by laws which, when broken, has severe consequences. The traumatic childhood experiences among African Americans are rampant as the majority of them have backgrounds that are traumatizing (Van der Kolk, 2017). As such, they develop behaviors of making rash decisions without minding the consequences of these behaviors. The division 1 players make reckless decisions because of their childhood. Danzer et al. (2016) found out that the decision made by these players while engaging in sporting activities influenced by the desire to exert revenge. Majority of African Americans have been made to believe that the problems they face and the hardship faced during their childhood is a result of certain people who made decisions that affected the welfare of their parents. The perception affects behavior in their later stages of life, which is reflected in sports.

The traumatic events during the childhood of African Americans affect the academic performance and family support system of Americans. Sports have been identified as an activity that can enable one to earn a sustainable living. The advancement of sports and focus on professionalism has seen African Americans dedicating the majority of their time on sporting activities rather than education (Massey & Whitley, 2016). Since trauma has an impact on adult behavior, African Americans use sports as an avenue of dealing with childhood experiences and doing away with negative behavior (Bowen & Murshid, 2016). As such, those who engage in sports dedicate their time to be professionals at the expense of academics. The same can be said about family support systems within African American communities. African Americans grew up in environments with weak family support systems. Besides, access to community services that would have helped children to deal with traumatic experiences to shape behavior was neglected, thus making it hard to address the behavior of black adults. The issue is what continues to see African Americans engaging in sports to having weak family support groups that could have helped them to nurture their talents and get the best out of their careers

There is a question of why African Americans are affected by childhood trauma more than other races. Clark (2015) explains that the culture of blacks supports individualism, where a person struggles on their own. Besides, the same culture pays little attention to the provision of social support services to children that suffer from trauma. Unlike the other races where there is no awareness on the issue, the blacks continue to suffer throughout their lives a situation that best explains why they are affected in division 1 sports (Mez, et al., 2017). Trauma is a psychological issue that affects all people, but African Americans continue to suffer from trauma in their childhood because of their backgrounds. The weak support systems and help offered to victims of trauma at childhood mean that their childhood will shape the behavior of these children. It is for this reason why childhood trauma continues to affect the performance of African Americans in sports, academics, and family support.


Bowen, E. A., & Murshid, N. S. (2016). Trauma-informed social policy: A conceptual framework for policy analysis and advocacy. American journal of public health, 106(2), 223-229.

Clark, R. M., (2015). Family life and school achievement: Why poor black children succeed or fail - University of Chicago Press.

Cook, A., Spinazzola, J., Ford, J., Lanktree, C., Blaustein, M., Cloitre, M., ... & Mallah, K. (2017). Complex trauma in children and adolescents. Psychiatric annals, 35(5), 390-398.

Danzer, G., Rieger, S. M., Schubmehl, S., & Cort, D. (2016). White psychologists and African Americans' historical trauma: Implications for practice. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(4), 351-370.

Dean, C., & Rowan, D., (2014). The social worker's role in serving vulnerable athletes. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28(2), 219-227.

Massey, W. V., & Whitley, M. A. (2016). The role of sport for youth amidst trauma and chaos. Qualitative research in sport, exercise, and health, 8(5), 487-504.

Mez, J., Daneshvar, D. H., Kiernan, P. T., Abdolmohammadi, B., Alvarez, V. E., Huber, B. R., ... & Cormier, K. A. (2017). Clinicopathological evaluation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in players of American football. Jama, 318(4), 360-370.

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2017). Developmental Trauma Disorder: Toward a rational diagnosis for children with complex trauma histories. Psychiatric annals, 35(5), 401-408.

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Childhood Trauma: Examining African-Americans' Participation in NCAA Division One Sports - Research Paper. (2023, Jan 16). Retrieved from

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