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Stephanie M. Mazerolle

Edited by Joseph J. Piccininni

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle and Chantel Hunter

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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Stephanie M. Mazerolle and Chantel Hunter

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.

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Stephanie Mazerolle, Christianne M. Eason and Stephanie Clines

The graduate assistant (GA) athletic trainer position often symbolizes an important transitory role from student to autonomous practitioner. The position also is used to help gain valuable experience for future employment. Our purpose was to understand the socialization process of the GA athletic trainer as well as investigate the career intentions as they begin to seek employment following their experiences in that transitory role. Twenty-five (5 males, 20 females) GA athletic trainers were recruited and participated in this study. Findings indicate the experiences of novice athletic trainers serving as GAs have the potential to both positively or negatively influence perceptions of the athletic training profession and, ultimately, career intentions.

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, Ashley Dawson and Rhyan Lazar

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, William A. Pitney and Ashley Goodman

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Jim Schilling, William A. Pitney and Stephanie M. Mazerolle

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, Thomas G. Bowman and Carrie Fister

Context:

Athletic training majors are at risk for experiencing elevated stress, frustrations, and eventual burnout. Evidence suggests that stressors can accumulate over time, but academic standing can plausibly influence experiences with stress.

Objective:

Gain information related to coping strategies used by athletic training majors to manage their stress and frustrations to prevent burnout.

Design:

Online qualitative study.

Setting:

Athletic training programs.

Patients or Other Participants:

10 sophomores, 9 juniors, and 4 seniors completed the online questionnaire. The athletic training majors were recruited from four institutions with accredited programs.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Data were collected in March 2013 via asynchronous online interviewing via QuestionPro. All participants responded to the same set of 25 questions and data were analyzed following a general inductive approach. The questionnaire was reviewed by a peer and piloted. Multiple analyst coding was completed.

Results:

We identified an overarching theme of personal coping strategies, which athletic training majors used to manage and cope with their stressors. These strategies were simply considered outside the confines of the athletic training program itself, and included outside support networks, physical outlets, and time management skills. We acknowledged athletic training majors also employed stress-relieving strategies that were facilitated within or by the athletic training program itself. Specifically, our participants noted that they received support from peer and programmatic personnel (preceptors, faculty).

Conclusions:

Athletic training majors must develop personal strategies that can help them best alleviate their stressors, but also must have strong support in place especially within their athletic training programs. We recommend that athletic training majors reflect upon what strategies work best for them and to find hobbies and personal interests that help them de-stress and rejuvenate from their demanding workloads.