Statement of Purpose Athletic training students (ATS) are training to provide independent healthcare, including injury prevention, to physically active patients. Our study aimed to identify sociocultural (race, gender) and demographic (age, athletic training program type) factors associated with the educational preparation of ATS.
Methods/Approach ATS (n=832; 629 females; mean age=22.2±2.7 years) completed a validated cross-sectional questionnaire on sociocultural and demographic variables, and educational experiences. A general linear model determined the effect of race (Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Latino/Hispanic, multi-race, other), gender, age category (<20, 20–24, 25–29, ≥30), and athletic training program type (undergraduate professional vs. graduate professional), on how prepared ATS felt for clinical practice. The 7-point scale ranged from completely unprepared to completely prepared.
Results Most participants were female (75.6%), Caucasian (73.8%), 20–24 years old (84.1%), and from an undergraduate professional-level athletic training program (78.3%). Most participants felt at least moderately prepared for clinical practice (46.5%). Additionally, most participants planned to further their education in some capacity (68.9%). In the general linear model, compared to Caucasian ATS, African-American (β=-0.593, p<0.001) and multi-race ATS (β=-0.383, p=0.016) felt less prepared for clinical practice.
Conclusions Our findings suggest that ATS of different racial backgrounds may have differing experiences compared to Caucasian ATS related to their perceived preparedness for clinical practice, independent of age- and program-related influences. Although these results only represent a one-level difference (moderately to somewhat prepared), the findings are important to consider when discussing the need to prioritize confidence, particularly among diverse populations of ATS.
Significance/Contribution to Injury and Violence Prevention Science Athletic training programs need to be aware of student differences relative to race/ethnicity as related to their perceived preparedness for independent clinical practice. Understanding how such disparities exist, their influence, and how to mitigate their influence on educational experiences will help to better train ATS to prevent future injuries.
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