Self-Reported Comfort in Athletic Training of Gender-Specific and Non-Gender-Specific Injuries and Issues

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Human Performance and Recreation


Context., To assist athletes in maintaining optimal health, athletic trainers must work with athletes of both sexes. Objective: To examine athletic trainers' comfort levels in providing care for gender-specific and non-gender-specific injuries and issues. Design: We mailed 235 Gender Comfort in Athletic Training Questionnaires to program directors, who were asked to distribute and collect them. Setting: We randomly selected 21 athletic training education program directors and invited them by e-mail to participate in the study. Fourteen program directors representing the 10 National Athletic Trainers' Association districts agreed to participate. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 192 participants returned completed questionnaires, for a response rate of 82% (103 women, 89 men; 101 senior athletic training students, 91 certified athletic trainers). Main Outcome Measure(s): The questionnaire consisted of 17 injuries and issues common to both female and male athlete scenarios. Three gender-specific items were added to each scenario. Responses were scored on a 5-point scale anchored by 1 (very uncomfortable) and 5 (very comfortable). Participants were asked to indicate the reason for any degree of discomfort. Internal consistency, determined by the Cronbach alpha, was .92 for the female athlete scenario and .93 for the male athlete scenario. Results: We found significant differences between women and men certified athletic trainers for the female and male athlete scenarios. Overall, women were more comfortable caring for female injuries and issues, whereas men were more comfortable caring for male injuries and issues. Certified athletic trainers reported more comfort overall than athletic training students. The most common underlying reason reported for discomfort in caring for female and male injuries and issues was experience level. Conclusions: Athletic training education programs should provide early and more deliberate experiences with injuries and issues of a more intimate nature, including those that are gender specific and non-gender specific. These experiences may increase athletic trainers' level of comfort in providing care to athletes of the opposite sex.

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Journal of Athletic Training





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