Psychosocial Concerns Following Trauma in High School Student Athletes: Experiences of Certified Athletic Trainers

Sunddip Aguilar


Athletic trainers are uniquely positioned to provide necessary psychosocial interventions and referral strategies as mental health concerns gain greater attention and prevalence in high school student-athletes. Athletic training education programs require athletic trainers to develop competence in several standards, including: recognizing, referring, and supporting student-athletes with behavioral and mental health concerns. Yet, even with training, many athletic trainers have a perceived lack of knowledge, confidence, and preparation related to the psychosocial content area. This study explored the experiences of certified athletic trainers’ preparedness to address psychosocial concerns in high school student-athletes. Using a qualitative methodology, interviews were conducted with state-licensed and board-certified high school athletic trainers who had lived experiences addressing psychosocial concerns in student-athletes. In addition, a phenomenological approach was utilized to capture the essence of shared experiences by practicing athletic trainers relative to their academic and clinical experiences in identifying and managing mental health concerns. Six major themes and one subtheme emerged from the data: (1) Interactions with Psychosocial Concerns, (1a) Athletic Trainers’ Perceptions of Experiences, (2) Use of Psychosocial Strategies, (3) Collaboration with the Interprofessional Team, (4) Training and Preparation, (5) Enhance Education and Exposure, and (6) Knowledge of Psychosocial Techniques. This phenomenological study helped answer questions related to experiences of athletic trainers’ preparedness to address psychosocial concerns in the secondary school setting and captured their views on training related to psychosocial educational standards. Results of this study can be used to inform athletic trainers and athletic training education program directors of ways to enhance the athletic training profession and educational training.

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World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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