Muslim Collegiate Student-Athletes' Experience With Fasting During Ramadan While Participating in Sport

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: As colleges and universities continue to focus on creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments, it is important to gain more knowledge on the experiences that Muslim student-athletes have while fasting during the month of Ramadan. Although previous researchers have investigated the physical effects of fasting on the body, little is known about the challenges or support Muslim student-athletes experience while fasting and participating in sport during Ramadan. Objective: To explore the experiences of Muslim collegiate student-athletes regarding fasting during Ramadan while participating in sports. Design: Qualitative research study. Setting: Individual video interviews. Patients or Other Participants: Twelve Muslim collegiate student-athletes (4 women, 8 men; age ¼ 19.9 6 1.4 years) from 7 universities across 7 states were interviewed. Data Collection and Analysis: A semistructured interview guide consisting of questions pertaining to the Muslim student-athletes' beliefs, challenges, experiences, and feelings was developed to gather perceptions of fasting during Ramadan while participating in sport. Data were analyzed by a multianalyst research team and coded into common themes and categories via a multiphase consensus process. Results: Four major themes emerged from the interview process: the significance of fasting and Ramadan (familial influence, religious belief, and introspection and spiritual growth), intrinsic challenges (physical challenges, mental and emotional challenges, and time constraints), extrinsic challenges (lack of available resources, knowledge and curiosity of others, and lack of understanding by others), and various types of support (sport-specific support, community support, and desired support) that affected athletes' experiences with fasting during Ramadan while participating in sport. Conclusions: The athletic community should seek to better support Muslim student-athletes and respect the importance of fasting during Ramadan. Parties interested in the success of these athletes in sport should improve their understanding regarding Ramadan and the desired support of Muslim student-athletes during fasting.

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