injury and management strategies among certified athletic trainer’s
Home Message: Approximately 12% of athletic
trainers reported an injury during the prior 12 months and most modified their
work but never reported a workers’ compensation claim.
Athletic training can be a physically demanding job;
however, we know little about work-related injuries among athletic trainers and
how these injuries are reported and managed. Therefore, Kucera and colleagues
completed a cross-sectional study to determine the self-reported prevalence and
incidence of work-related injuries of athletic trainers. In 2012, the authors
randomly contacted 10,000 athletic trainers from a list of active athletic
trainers provided by the Board of Certification. A total of 1826 athletic
trainers completed the survey. The survey comprised of 130 questions assessing demographics,
present job setting, work injury and illness, blood and body fluid exposure,
work-related musculoskeletal symptoms, job task and demands, second job
information, and general health. The primary outcome was self-reported work-related
injuries, which occurred in the prior 12 months and required care beyond first
aid, resulted in limitations, or required one or more day away from work.
Overall, almost half of the respondents were women and most of the respondents (60%) were between
the ages of 30 and 49 years, had more than 10 years of experience (51%), and
worked in a secondary school (32%) or college/university (26%). A total of
247 athletic trainers (12%) reported 419 work-related injuries in the prior 12
months. Athletic trainers who were female, working 9- to 11-month contracts,
and worked more than 60 hours/week were more likely to report an injury. In
contrast, an athletic trainer in the clinic/hospital setting was less likely to
report an injury than the other job settings. The most frequently injured body parts
were the trunk (31%) and lower extremity (26%). The most frequently cited
mechanisms were overexertion and
repetitive motion, such as handling water coolers or
ice chests (52%), and contact with objects,
equipment, or persons (24%). One hundred and thirty-seven of
the 247 athletic trainers (55%) sought medical care for their injury, and only
23% filed workers’ compensation claims despite 89% needing to modify or change
their work because of an injury.
injuries were ever reported to workers’ compensation despite most athletic
trainers modifying their work. Like other health professions, many athletic
trainers experienced injuries related to handling or moving equipment (e.g.,
40-lb coolers) or patients. However, athletic trainers also commonly
experienced injuries related to being hit by athletic equipment or an athlete.
This study lays the groundwork for research aimed at understanding what support
systems are in place and helpful for injured athletic trainers as well as
identifying and evaluating injury-prevention methods. In the meantime, athletic
trainers should take heed from these results and think about what they can do
in their setting to reduce their risk of injury.
Have you been injured at work? If
so, did you report this information for workers’ compensation, why or why not?