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Journal Article


Pike Lacy AM, Eason CM, Stearns RL, Casa DJ. J. Athl. Train. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2020, National Athletic Trainers' Association (USA))






CONTEXT: Athletic directors are charged with making impactful decisions for secondary school athletic programs that mitigate risk for stakeholders involved. This includes decision-making regarding the provision of medical care for student-athletes. To date, limited research has explored athletic directors' perceptions of athletic training.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate public school athletic directors' knowledge and perceptions of the athletic trainer (AT) role.

DESIGN: Concurrent mixed methods.

SETTING: Cross-sectional online questionnaire.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Athletic directors representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia (n=954; 818 males, 133 females, 3 preferred not to answer; age = 47.8 ± 9.1 years; years in current role = 9.8 ± 8.3).

INTERVENTION(S): Questionnaire composed of demographics, various quantitative measures assessing athletic directors' knowledge and perceived value of ATs, and open-ended questions allowing for expansion on their perspectives.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Descriptive statistics were reported, with key quantitative findings presented as count response and overall percentages. Qualitative data were analyzed using the general inductive approach.

RESULTS: A majority of respondents recognized the ATs' role in injury prevention (99.8%), first aid/wound care (98.8%), therapeutic interventions (93.8%), and emergency care (91.6%). Approximately 61% (n=582) identified AT employment as a top sport safety measure, and 77% (n=736) considered an AT to be extremely valuable to student-athlete health and safety. Athletic directors appeared to recognize the value of ATs as they provide "peace of mind" and remove the responsibility of making medical decisions from coaches and administration.

CONCLUSIONS: Athletic directors appeared to recognize the value ATs bring to the secondary school setting and demonstrated adequate knowledge regarding ATs' roles and responsibilities. Educational efforts for this population should focus on AT-related tasks that are not frequently seen in the public eye, yet add to perceived value, in order to potentially influence hiring decisions.

Language: en


high school; medical professional; athletic administrator


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