Research Paper Title
Defining Athletic Training in the Military Setting: A Survey Investigation Into Professional Characteristics, Preparation, and Barriers in Clinical Practice.
The skill sets of athletic trainers (ATs) provide a unique contribution to the US military’s optimisation of physical readiness, and these positions are becoming more prevalent. However, knowledge regarding the job characteristics of, and ATs’ preparation for, employment in a military setting is limited.
Objective: To assess the position and clinician characteristics of ATs working with military members and document their perceptions of working in the military setting.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Online survey.
Patients or other participants: A total of 53 ATs who currently or formerly worked in the military setting.
Data collection and analysis: A Web-based survey with closed- and open-ended questions was distributed via e-mail and social media. Closed-ended data were analysed via descriptive statistics, and open-ended questions were evaluated for common themes using thematic analysis.
Respondents were primarily males (n = 31, 58.5%), had a master’s degree (n = 42, 79.2%), and were not current or former service members (n = 46, 86.8%). Positions were primarily full time (n = 50, 94.3%), contracted with an independent company (n = 27, 50.9%), and within the Army (n = 24, 45.3%).
The ATs were highly satisfied with their workload and ability to apply their skill set. Qualitative analysis revealed 3 themes:
- The context of clinical practice in the military (e.g. rewarding, job scope, military environment);
- The importance of clinical and interpersonal skills; and
- The existence of multiple barriers (e.g. hiring, military culture, lack of recognition).
Overall, ATs working in the military setting were well-qualified practitioners who were very satisfied with their current positions, yet they also reported barriers, such as working within the military culture and lack of recognition of their skill set.
Although ATs indicated a neutral belief that professional degree preparation was sufficient for this clinical practice setting, the qualitative themes provided additional career-preparation advice for individuals interested in this setting.
Radzak, K.N., Sedory, E.J., Hooper, M. & Kasamatsu, T.M. (2020) Defining Athletic Training in the Military Setting: A Survey Investigation Into Professional Characteristics, Preparation, and Barriers in Clinical Practice. Journal of Athletic Training. 55(5), pp.522-531. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-213-19. Epub 2020 Apr 2.