The National Association for Social Workers in Sports (NASWIS) 2nd Annual Symposium | “Mentally Healthy Athletes Are High Performing Students & Athletes”


The National Association for Social Workers in Sports (NASWIS) is proud to release the call for papers for its 2nd Annual Symposium. The overall theme of this year’s conference pertains to the mental health of professional and collegiate athletes and clinical responses from collegiate and professional sports organizations. The pursuit of this theme is related to NASWIS’s desire a) to magnify our discipline’s unique competencies and their applicability to mental health issues that arise in athletics and b) to introduce athletic departments and athletic conferences, as well as professional sports teams and leagues, to the social work discipline. (While our focus is mental health, the symposium is open to all content at the juncture of social work & sports.)

In recent years, collegiate and professional sports organizations have begun to pay more attention to the mental health needs of athletes and rightfully so because sport organizations’ financial sustainability is dependent on the well-being of their most important assets. There are a myriad of mental health concerns among college and professional athletes.  College athletes are challenged by substance abuse, bipolar, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress, eating, depression, and personality disorders. Moreover, once college athletes arrive on campus, their mental health may be further compromised by a sexual assault, abusive coaching, identity foreclosure and other challenges presented by the university and/or athletic environment.  On the other hand, professional athletes may have matriculated through college without the benefit of treatment for a mental health disorder, are unable to adjust to a professional sports lifestyle because they were coddled in college, become addicted to pain killers, or continue to experience the lingering effects of concussions. This years’ symposium will be held November 1st 2016 at Clark Atlanta University in conjunction with the Whitney M. Young School of Social Work, in Atlanta, GA, prior to the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) annual conference.

Mentally Healthy Athletes Are High Performing Students & Athletes will include two components. The first component will be a day of Ted Talk research presentations and an all-star panel that includes social work mental health professionals in collegiate sports. The second day of our symposium will include a practice institute that includes sessions intended to “teach” participants more specific methods related to helping athletes overcome mental health challenges using a social work paradigm and an all-star panel that includes mental health professionals in professional sports.  Additional information on the institute will be released on July 18th 2016.

Social Work In Sports TED Talk Research Abstract Submission Guidelines

  • Abstracts are due: July 18th2016
  • Submission Email:
  • Specify whether presentation content addresses collegiate or professional sports
  • A Word Document with 12-point font, 1’ margins and 400 words (excluding Title & keywords)
  • All abstracts MUST be submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word attachment
  • The email message accompanying the abstract should include the principal author’s name, email address, telephone number, proposed focus area (i.e., college of professional sports)
  • Abstract Acceptance Notification will be August 29th2016

Evaluation Criteria

  • Technical Quality: Clear ideas, arguments and theory
  • Innovation: Promotion of new ideas and practices in social work in sports
  • Can the presentation content be presented in a 12-minute Ted Talk format (+3 minute Q&A)

If questions, please email

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