NCAA Division III Athletes' Perceptions of Athletic Trainers: An Examination of Athletes With and Without Exposure to Athletic Training Services in High School
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AbstractNearly 70 years ago, the field of athletic training was founded, and has since been recognized by many governing bodies, including the American Medical Association (NATA, 2018). Although the field has grown and evolved since 1950, today less than 50% of high schools in the United States employ an athletic trainer on staff (Pryor et al., 2015). With such an underrepresentation of athletic trainers in high schools, many athletes enter college with little understanding of what athletic trainers do. But does earlier exposure to athletic training services result in better understanding of athletic training services and use of those services? The purpose of this study was to evaluate and analyze the differences in perceptions, knowledge, and utilization of athletic training and its services, comparing athletes with and without exposure to athletic training while in high school. Ten NCAA Division III athletes from a variety of sports were interviewed. Results show a lack of differences in responses between those with and without exposure to athletic trainers. Common themes emerged in both cohorts, such as the stigma with going to see an athletic trainer, a lack of knowledge and utilization for services, and the perceived need for the field.
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