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I evaluated the perceptions student-athletes had of their athletic trainers and of the medical coverage provided them by the athletic departments at their institutions. My intent was to assess differences between male and female athletes, between athletes of high-profile and low-profile sports, and between athletes who competed at the NCAA Division I and Division II levels. The research design was also directed at identifying any subgroup of student-athletes who demonstrated a significantly different perception toward their athletic trainer(s).
Questionnaires were sent to 32 athletic training programs at 28 NCAA Division I and II institutions. Eighteen of the 32 programs participated, yielding a 56% response.
A total of 343 student-athletes from 18 selected athletic programs at both the NCAA Division I and II levels participated. One questionnaire contained response errors and was not included in the analysis.
A questionnaire was developed and pilot tested at 3 collegiate settings apart from those participating in the study. Validity and reliability analyses were conducted and confirmed by additional professionals in the field of athletic training. Cumulative mean perception scores between groups were measured using independent t tests. Differences in scores between subgroups were measured using a 1-way analysis of variance.
I observed significant differences in mean cumulative perception scores between sex and sport-profile groups. Male athletes and athletes in high-profile sports demonstrated a higher mean perception score than did females and athletes in low-profile sports. There was no difference in scores when compared across athletic divisions. Subgroups of all the athletes participating were identified. Several subgroups demonstrated significant differences in mean cumulative perception scores.
Males and females in low-profile sports at Division II schools and females in high-profile sports at Division II schools had significantly lower mean perception scores than did other subgroups of athletes.