Current practices in athletic training clinical education
Many reforms in athletic training education requirements have been taking place in order to strengthen the profession. This research project may help make educational institutions aware of the current changes and requirements in clinical education. The purpose of this study was to determine the current practices in athletic training clinical education at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) institutions and accredited versus non-accredited athletic training institutions.The participants (N = 93) consisted of a purposeful sample of head athletic trainers representing accredited and non-accredited athletic training education programs in the three divisions of the NCAA. The on-line survey instrument developed for this study, Current Practices in Athletic Training Clinical Education, obtained information about the demographics, clinical education of athletic training students, and the certified athletic trainer coverage of sports at NCAA institutions. The instrument was posted on an Internet website through the inQsit computer program. The respondents consisted of 28 (30.4%) head athletic trainers from Division I, 34 (37.0%) from Division II, and 30 from Division III (32.6%). Thirty-four (38.2%) respondents represented accredited athletic training education programs, 20 (22.5%) from athletic training programs in candidacy, and 35 (39.3%) from non-accredited or internship programs. Data was analyzed through percentages and frequency counts, and trend analysis and nonparametric Pearson chi square analyses. Pearson chi-square analyses revealed that Division I permits athletic training students to cover individual skill sessions and informal summer workouts unsupervised more often than the other NCAA divisions. Chi-square analyses also found that athletic training students at accredited athletic training education programs were more likely to possess CPR and first-aid certification and education on the prevention of disease transmission. A trend analysis was performed to determine the amount of time freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors spent in direct clinical supervision, supervised field experience, and unsupervised field experience. A linear relationship was found with respect to direct clinical supervision, and quadratic relationships were found with respect to supervised and unsupervised field experience. The results also revealed that athletic training programs that are accredited or candidacy were more likely to respond to 81 to 100% of the moderate risk sports within four minutes or less than those programs that are internship. The common perception of many athletic trainers regarding clinical education and the misuse of athletic training students is inconsistent with the current practices. Overall, athletic training students were seldom unsupervised for team practices and home events. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that collegiate athletic trainers have adjusted well to the recent changes in clinical education requirements and to the medical health care coverage recommended guidelines. Future research should address athletic training student and athletic training program director responses relative to their head athletic trainers' responses.