A Qualitative Exploration of the Professional Commitment of Athletic Trainers Employed in the Professional Sports Setting

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
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Professional commitment has been studied in multiple settings, yet little is known about the professional sport setting. A total of 27 male athletic trainers, employed full time in the professional sport setting, participated in this study. Our participants were 34 years old (range 30–58), with 21 ± 7 years of experience as a certified athletic trainer, and more than 17 ± 7 years of experience in the professional setting. We conducted online asynchronous interviews. All data were analyzed following an interpretative approach. Data saturation was met, and we used a peer review and researcher triangulation. Barriers to professional commitment included time away from family/home and negative work environment. The facilitators to professional commitment were competition, positive work environment, and off-season professional development. The professional sport setting is unique, much like the collegiate setting, and thus our findings highlight that time away and a negative workplace atmosphere can reduce an athletic trainer’s commitment. Commitment to the profession, however, is enhanced within this setting because of the chance to be around the high level of competition, as well as the chance to have time for professional development.

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