Organizational Infrastructure in the Collegiate Athletic Training Setting, Part II: Benefits of and Barriers in the Athletics Model

CONTEXT:  The athletics model, in which athletic training clinical programs are part of the athletics department, is the predominant model in the collegiate athletic training setting. Little is known about athletic trainers' (ATs') perceptions of this model, particularly as it relates to organizational hierarchy.

OBJECTIVE:  To explore the perceived benefits of and barriers in the athletics model.

DESIGN:  Qualitative study.

SETTING:  National Collegiate Athletic Association Divisions I and III.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:  Eight full-time ATs (5 men, 3 women; age = 41 ± 13 years, time employed at the current institution = 14 ± 14 years, experience as a certified AT = 18 ± 13 years) working in the collegiate setting using the athletics model.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:  We conducted semistructured interviews via telephone or in person and used a general inductive approach to analyze the qualitative data. Multiple-analyst triangulation and peer review established trustworthiness.

RESULTS:  Two benefits and 3 barriers emerged from the data. Role identity emerged as a benefit that occurred with role clarity, validation, and acceptance of the collegiate AT personality. Role congruence emerged as a benefit of the athletics model that occurred with 2 lower-order themes: relationship building and physician alignment and support. Role strain, staffing concerns, and work-life conflict emerged as barriers in the athletics model. Role strain occurred with 2 primary lower-order themes: role incongruity and role conflict.

CONCLUSIONS:  The athletics model is the most common infrastructure for employing ATs in collegiate athletics. Participants expressed positive experiences via character identity, support, trust relationships, and longevity. However, common barriers remain. To reduce role strain, misaligning values, and work-life conflict, ATs working in the athletics model are encouraged to evaluate their relationships with coaches and their supervisor and consider team physician alignment. Moreover, measures to increase quality athletic training staff from a care rather than a coverage standpoint should be considered. 

Autor / Fonte:Ashley Goodman, Stephanie M Mazerolle, Christianne M Eason Journal of Athletic Training 2016 December 15