Work-Life Balance in the Professional Sports Setting: The Athletic Trainer’s Perspective

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
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The professional sport setting requires athletic trainers to work long hours, spend days on the road, and adhere to schedules made by others. These job expectations can lead to a reduction in work-life balance, and recent evidence suggests that role strain and reduced professional commitment are present. At this time, work-life balance of the professional sport athletic trainer has not been examined. Twenty-seven male athletic trainers who represented four major professional sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) participated in the study. We collected data online by asking our participants to respond to a series of demographic, Likert-scaled, and open-ended questions. Means and standard deviations were calculated for Likert scale data and scores were compiled for each question. All qualitative data from the online interviews were coded following a general inductive approach. Data source triangulation was the primary credibility strategy, followed by peer review and multiple analyst triangulation. Mean scores were 40.5 ± 6.6 for work-family/personal life conflict. Two major themes emerged from our data: barriers and facilitators. Barriers speak to those aspects of the role of the athletic trainer in the professional setting that limit work-life balance. Facilitators speak to those strategies and practices that stimulated work-life balance for our participants. The professional sports setting can be demanding and stimulate conflict, but, with support garnered from the organization and supportive spouses, balance can be gained.

Stephanie M. Mazerolle is an associate professor of athletic training, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Chantel Hunter currently serves as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE; at the time of the study, Hunter was a student at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, and was involved in data collection. Malissa Martin, EdD, ATC, CSCS, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, is the report editor for this article.

Address author correspondence to Stephanie M. Mazerolle at stephanie.mazerolle@uconn.edu.
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