Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Caroline Heaney

Dr Caroline Heaney

Profile summary

Web links

Professional biography

Dr Caroline Heaney is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Fitness at the Open University. She has worked as a full-time academic at the university since September 2006. Prior to that she worked as a lecturer in sport and exercise science/psychology in various face-to-face universities.

Caroline’s specialist area is sport psychology. She is a British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) accredited and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Sport Psychologist and has provided sport psychology support to a wide range of performers. 


Research interests

Caroline’s expertise lies in the areas of the psychological aspects of sports injury and mental health in sport. Psychological factors play an important role in the rehabilitation from sports injury and sports injury rehabilitation professionals (SIRPs), such as physiotherapists, have a key role in providing psychological support to the injured athlete. Caroline’s research explores the valuable role of the SIRP in addressing the psychological aspects of sports injury and the importance of sport psychology education for these professionals.

Her work has constructed and contributed to an evidence base demonstrating the value of sport psychology education for SIRPs and has the power to influence the education and training opportunities open to SIRPs. Research examining the impact of sport psychology education on the practice of sports injury rehabilitation professionals is an under-researched area with much of the existing work focused on north American student athletic trainer populations. Caroline has redressed this by focussing her research on UK SIRPs who are already qualified and practicing in the field – a group who have expressed a desire to increase their knowledge and practice in relation to sport psychology. As an experienced educator in distance learning she has also developed a new field of enquiry within the topic area investigating the impact of distance learning as a delivery modality, which has huge potential for SIRPs who often travel with sports teams and may find committing to face to face training difficult.

Caroline’s work is designed to promote and raise awareness of the importance of sport psychology education for SIRPs and influence those involved in the education and training of SIRPs at undergraduate, postgraduate and post-qualification level in order to ensure that injured athletes receive a holistic approach to recovery that addressees both the physiological and psychological aspects of injury.  

A full list of Caroline's publications can be found by clicking here. Some of her academic publications can be viewed by clicking on the 'publications' tab above and on her ResearchGate profile.



Teaching interests

Caroline has been involved in the writing and development of all modules in the sport and fitness programme. She has been module chair on various modules including:

  • E312 Athletic Development: A Psychological Perspective
  • E313 Exploring Psychological Aspects of Athletic Development
  • E233 Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Case Study Approach
  • E112 Introduction to Sport, Fitness & Management 

She has also written the free Badged Open Courses (BOCs) Exploring the psychological aspects of sport injury (sole author) and The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport - OpenLearn - Open University  (co-written with Candice Lingam-Willgoss).

Caroline has held various additional roles within the university including School Athena Swan lead (2021-present), Programme Leader for Sport and Fitness (2016-19 and 2021-22) and Head of Qualification for Sport and Fitness (2013-2019).


To find out more about the Sport and Fitness qualifications available at The Open University please click here.


Impact and engagement

Caroline disseminates her knowledge of sport and exercise science and sport psychology in ways that are designed to engage diverse communities and foster knowledge exchange. Examples of media used to disseminate such knowledge include: