Athlete and Athletic Trainer Perceptions of Ankle Sprains and Clinical Practice Patterns

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Corbett, Revay, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Hertel, Jay, CU-Kinesiology, University of Virginia

Ankle sprains are a common musculoskeletal injury that occur in the athletic population. These injuries are known to affect a patient's function as well as quality of life. While physiological deficits have been documented in the literature in this population the perception patients have regarding the injury has not been studied in depth. Athletic Trainers play an essential role in providing care to athletes when an ankle sprain is sustained. Recommendations made by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association inform the care Athletic Trainers provide when treating and managing ankle sprain and their long-term consequences. Evaluating the knowledge of ankle sprain epidemiology, attitudes towards clinical practice recommendations, and barriers faced when implementing best practice allows for the perception possessed by clinicians relative to ankle sprains treatment. Documentation of ankle sprain treatment by Athletic Trainers not only allows the clinician to track rehabilitation progress, but when done within an electronic medical records system allows the care provided to patients to be examined which could offer insight into how ankle sprains are treated. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to identify current perceptions and understanding surrounding the treatment and management of ankle sprains by student athletes and Athletic Trainers and evaluate current clinical practices to identify trends in treating and managing ankle sprains.
The first manuscript evaluated the understanding and perception intercollegiate athletes have regarding ankle sprains. Additionally, the second manuscript evaluated Athletic Trainers’ perceptions, and understanding of ankle sprains treatment and attitudes and obstacles to implementing clinical care recommendations. Lastly, the purpose of manuscript three was to assess characteristics of Athletic Training services provided when treating an ankle sprain. This project has shown a majority of the student-athletes surveyed displayed a high understanding of basic ankle sprain information, and also understood ankle sprains to be prevalent. In contrast to other common sports injuries, ankle sprains were perceived to be of lower importance. Although Athletic Trainers of all settings, education levels and years certified expressed confidence in the NATA position statement regarding ankle sprain treatment, challenges and pressures were also reported to effectively implementing its recommendations. Most of the services provided were conducive to the recommendations made to inform clinical practices. Future research should explore ways to improve the perception held by student athletes regarding ankle sprains and ways to address challenges and pressure faced by clinicians.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Student-Athlete, Perception of Injury, Athletic Training, Clinical Practice Patterns, Ankle Sprain, Epidemiology, Sports Medicine, Kinesiology
Sponsoring Agency:
University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education Foundation
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