Attitudes of certified athletic trainers concerning formal sport psychology education
The purposes of this study were to determine the current formal educational background of certified athletic trainers (ATCs) in sport psychology and psychological aspects of injury, and to identify attitudes of ATCs regarding the implementation of formal sport psychology education. A survey instrument was developed for the purposes of this study and sent to all 13,000 NATABOC ATCs with e-mail addresses registered with the NATA as of December 2001, with 2499 responding (19.2%). Of the respondents, 1326 (53.7%) were educated via the internship route to certification and 1142 (46.3%) were educated via the curriculum route to certification. Descriptive statistics were computed for information regarding the amount and type of formal sport psychology education participation by ATCs, perceived importance of sport psychology when caring for athletes, and availability of sport psychology professionals.Results indicated that 46.2% (n = 1098) and 30.0% (n = 667) of ATCs who responded have participated in at least one formal sport psychology undergraduate and graduate course, respectively. Results indicated that 62.6% (n = 1473) and 29.1% (n = 644) had participated in at least one psychological aspects of injury undergraduate and graduate course, respectively. Three hundred and thirty-nine (14.5%) have participated in sport psychology CEUs and 85 (3.7%) have attended sport psychology conventions/seminars. Responses supported previous research, showing the opinion that sport psychology is an important tool when caring for athletes. Results indicated that low numbers of ATCs currently have formal training in formal sport psychology interventions (32.7%, n = 818), but more utilize them in their athletic training settings then are formally trained (56.7%, n = 1426). Respondents indicated limited access to sport psychology professionals as 31.4% (n = 776) reported access to full, part time, or a referral base service.Multiple t-tests were used to determine if significant differences were present between internship route ATCs' and curriculum route ATCs' participation in and perceptions of formal sport psychology and psychological aspects of injury education. No significant differences were found between routes to certifications. Low percentages of ATCs with formal sport psychology education, high perceived importance of sport psychology skills, and limited access to sport psychology professionals requires further attention and action in order to provide athletes with the best comprehensive care.