Motherhood and Work-Life Balance in
the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I setting: Mentors and
the Female Athletic Trainer

CM, Mazerolle SM, & Goodman A. J Athl
2014 (3):000-000. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.03

Take Home Message:  Female mentors/role models who are
successfully maintaining work-life balance are critical to the success and
retention of quality female athletic trainers at the NCAA Division I

balance (WLB) is a difficult thing to accomplish for clinicians in sports
medicine, especially at the NCAA Division I level and for female athletic
trainers (ATs) who may want to become mothers. 
Young female AT students and professionals may benefit from having
positive role models who exhibit appropriate strategies to achieve WLB.  This study aimed to see how role models and
mentors within athletic training influence female ATs in the NCAA Division I
setting. This qualitative study of 27
female ATs (average age = 35 years; 14 single, 6 married, 7 married with
children) who worked in the NCAA Division 1 setting revealed two themes
surrounding WLB and professional development: 1) an influence of role models
and mentors and 2) a desire for female role models and mentors.  Many of the ATs were able to identify role
models/mentors who influenced their professional and personal lives, either
positively or negatively.  Additionally,
64% of the female ATs expressed a desire for female role models/mentors.  Female ATs who interacted with other females
who were successfully managing WLB felt more confident about their abilities to
continue in athletic training.  Interestingly,
some role models/mentors were noted to have “sacrificed” the personal side of
WLB and this was perceived by some female ATs as something that they were not
willing to personally do.  Contrarily,
some female ATs were viewed as maintaining their personal lives; however, their
professional abilities suffered, and this also negatively affected respondents’
views of staying in the profession.  Of
these 27 female ATs, only 3 planned to stay at the NCAA Division I level for
concerns about WLB. Six ATs noted that they were planning to leave AT
profession entirely. 

study highlights a difficult concept among clinicians in sports medicine; WLB
is something that should be feasible to every clinician, no matter their
position, level, or gender.  One can see
that there are many confounding variables such as competition level and
parenthood that may represent challenging barriers to WLB.  Positive mentoring/role modeling seems to be
very important to help provide avenues for success for our young and aspiring
clinicians.  This article is interesting
for me to read shortly after NATA’s annual meeting,
where some strong and well deserved female professionals were inducted into the
NATA Hall of Fame.  I found myself sitting in admiration and
hoping to be able to achieve even a small portion of their professional and
personal achievements.  Every award
winner always seems to highlight an outstanding support network, but also a few
key mentors.  It is important to note
that you may be serving as the role model currently without knowing it, while
you may be seeking one yourself.  There
is no set of assured answers for WLB, but it is critical to provide a support
network to show successful strategies, as well as how to mitigate certain

Questions for Discussion:  What
strategies have you identified for maintaining appropriate WLB?  Is there any person that you could identify
as a past or current role model/mentor?
by: Nicole Cattano
by: Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:

The Pursuit of Happiness: Clinical Setting, Gender, and Parenting as an Athletic Trainer

Eason, C., Mazerolle, S., & Goodman, A. (2014). Motherhood and Work–Life Balance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Setting: Mentors and the Female Athletic Trainer Journal of Athletic Training DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.03