Nov 16, 2020
Survey: NCAA Coaches Satisfied with Athletic Trainers

A recent sports survey found NCAA head coaches at all three levels are satisfied with their athletic trainers and the services provided as well as sharing a mutual respect.

The study, titled “NCAA Head Coach Satisfaction with Athletic Trainers: Influence of Individual Athletic Trainer Characteristics and Team Factors”, was published on The study’s authors are Whitney Larson, M.S., ATC, Alyson Dearie, Ed.D., ATC, Lariss True, Ph.D., Brian Richardson, Ph.D., and Erik Lind, Ph.D.

Photo: Tristan Seifert / Creative Commons

The group selected 40 NCAA head coaches from northeastern institutions representing Division I, II, and III. There were 16 coaches from Division I, 12 male and four female. There were 11 coaches in Division II, seven male and four female. And there were 13 Division III, nine male and four female coaches.

And from that small group, the study found head coaches at three NCAA division schools reported, in general, being satisfied with their ATCs and the services provided.

Of the head coaches surveyed, 70% were male and 30% were female, 40% coached a male team, 50% coached a female team, and 10% coached both a male and female team. Ninety percent of the coaches had a Certified Athletic Trainer assigned to their team. Of these coaches, 72% stated that their athletic trainer was a full-time staff member, compared to 18% who stated their athletic trainer was a Graduate Assistant athletic trainer. The majority of the ATCs were female (53%).

The survey asked the head coaches questions on the professionalism of ATCs, communication, knowledge/ability, and accessibility.

“Interestingly, the sex of the team seemed to be an important factor in some of the satisfaction subcategories. Overall Satisfaction scores were reported as higher by head coaches of male teams than by those coaching female teams. This may be due to the fact that male sports are generally at higher risk for injury than female sports and may be given greater priority when it comes to athletic training coverage. Thus, male teams may have more exposure to athletic training than their female counterparts, possibly contributing to greater satisfaction,” the survey stated.

Athletic trainers are viewed as non-threatening by athletes, and thus athletes may feel more comfortable discussing injury specifics with the ATC than the head coach, according to the survey results. By providing injury-specific information to coaches, ATCs can help athletes and coaches communicate more efficiently.

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Not surprisingly, head coaches working with a full-time ATC reported higher Knowledge/Ability scores compared to head coaches with a graduate assistant ATC, the survey found. This finding seems commonsensical in that full-time staff members generally have much more experience than graduate assistants. Consequently, these experiences inevitably lead to a greater expansion to the baseline knowledge which may explain why coaches indicated they trusted the decision-making ability of the full-time athletic training staff

To read all of the survey results on the relationship between NCAA head coaches and athletic trainers, click here

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