Psychological Aspects of Athletic Injuries as Perceived by Athletic Trainers

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Gerald A. Larson Tabor Academy

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Chad Starkey Northeastern University

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Leonard D. Zaichkowsky Boston University

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This study investigated the perceptions of certified athletic trainers concerning their attitudes, beliefs, and application of a variety of psychological strategies and techniques used in the treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. The Athletic Training and Sport Psychology Questionnaire (ATSPQ) was adapted from instruments developed by Wiese, Weiss, and Yukelson (1991) and Brewer, Van Raalte, and Linder (1991). The ATSPQ, a letter of introduction, and a self-addressed stamped envelope were distributed to 1,000 certified athletic trainers randomly selected from the membership database maintained by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). Only 482 (48.2%) of these questionnaires returned were usable. 47% of athletic trainers who responded believe that every injured athlete suffers psychological trauma. 24% reported that they have referred an athlete for counseling for situations related to their injury, and 25% reported that they have a sport psychologist as a member of their sports medicine team. This study concludes that future education of athletic trainers should address the psychological aspects of injury treatment as well as the development of a sport psychology referral network.

Gerald A. Larson is with Tabor Academy, Marion, MA 02738-1599. Chad Starkey is with the Department of Physical Therapy in the Bouve College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115. Leonard D. Zaichkowsky is with the School of Education at Boston University, 605 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215.

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