Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Self Efficacy of Entry Level Athletic Trainers In Working with Disabled Athletes

Joseph Hacker, ATC, MEd
NovaCare Rehabilitation

Each year millions of disabled athletes, either physically disabled or intellectually disabled, participate in organized competitions such as the Special Olympics and/or the Paralympics. Participation in these events, whether locally or internationally, helps to promote social inclusion (McConkey, et al. 2013) and a healthy lifestyle amongst the participants (Wilson, et al. 2010). With athletic competition, there is a great need for highly qualified medical professionals to treat these athletes. At the 2009 Special Olympics in Great Britain, there were 2500 athletes and 23.24% (581 of the 2500 athletes) required medical attention (Wheeler, et al. 2012). While some venues had physicians present, some were unmanned due to a lack of medical volunteers. Athletes who were injured at unmanned venues then needed to be transferred to the nearest medical professional for proper evaluation. This delay in care could have been resolved with Athletic Trainers to care for some of the common ailments such as musculoskeletal injuries. The question becomes why there are not more athletic trainers volunteering for disabled athlete sporting events. This study will evaluate entry level Athletic Trainers self-efficacy and knowledge in working with the disabled athletes, in an effort to determine why more Certified Athletic Trainers are not volunteering their time and expertise for such a rewarding program.