Retention Factors for Head Athletic Trainers in the NCAA Division I Collegiate Setting

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
Stephanie M. Mazerolle PhD, ATC1, William A. Pitney EdD, ATC, FNATA2, and Ashley Goodman PhD, ATC3
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  • 1 University of Connecticut
  • | 2 Northern Illinois University
  • | 3 Appalachian State University
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Retention factors for athletic trainers (ATs) generally include autonomy, work-life balance, and job satisfaction, but little is known specifically about the position of Head AT.


To investigate factors that influence retention of the Head AT in a leadership role.


A qualitative study that employed structured interviews.

Patients or Other Participants:

18 Head ATs (13 males, 5 females; 44 ± 8 years of age; 22 ± 7 years of experience in the role) participated.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Participants responded to a series of questions presented through an online interview. The data were analyzed through a general inductive approach.


Two key retention factors that were identified by the analysis were enjoyment of the work setting and professional motivation.


Head ATs remain in their positions due to rewarding relationships with staff members and student-athletes. A commitment to lifelong learning for professional development also exerts a positive influence for retention.

Stephanie M. Mazerolle is an associate professor and director of the entry-level athletic training education at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include work-life balance, professional socialization, and persistence issues among athletic training students and professionals.

William A. Pitney is a professor at Northern Illinois University. He serves as the current editor and chief of the Athletic Training Education Journal and is an experienced qualitative researcher and athletic training scholar.

Ashley Goodman is an assistant professor at Appalachian State University. Her research interests include retention factors and career intentions of athletic training professionals.

Jatin Ambegaonkar, PhD, ATC, OT, George Mason University, is the report editor for this article.

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