Some items in this collection may only be downloaded by UW users because of an embargo period. (Check “Author Requested Restriction” below for status.)

UW users may access these items by clicking on "Download (UW Login Required) "

Non-UW users may request this item through Interlibrary Loan at your own library.

Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2023

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


Educational Leadership



First Advisor

Dr. Robin Zape-tah-hol-ah Minthorn, Ph.D., Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher R. Beasley, Ph. D., Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Hyoung Suk Lee, Ph. D., Member


The cancellation of sporting opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic caused many student-athletes to feel deprived of the only outlet they had, which held a significant component of their personal and athletic identities (Grubic et al. 2021). This study aimed to answer the following research question: What are the experiences of high school student-athletes in a Pacific Northwest school district with access and support for holistic wellness in a post-pandemic COVID-19 school environment? The research methodology used was the wellness theory framework (Adams, Bezner, & Steinhardt, 1997). A total of seven student-athletes participated in the study through in-depth interviews. From the data collected, six major themes and many sub themes emerged addressing the tenets of wellness. Furthermore, results indicated the significance of developing social connectedness and belonging through supportive relationships, more specifically with coaches and other athletes. Additionally, the findings shed light on the multifaceted nature of the student-athlete journey, revealing the complexities that exist between physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological, spiritual, and social well-being. All participants in the study had some knowledge about accessing mental health support whether in school or out of school. However, they considered mental health services their last resource to reach if needed. Lastly, the results suggested that while the high demands on academic and athletic performance were present and had caused levels of stress, the post-pandemic COVID-19 school environment did not have a significant impact on the well-being of the participants. On the contrary, student-athletes expressed excitement to be back to in-person instruction.