Athletic Trainers’ Perceptions of Treating and Managing Patients with Ankle Sprains

Revay O. Corbett, Paul C. Harris, Luzita Vela, Susan A. Saliba, Jay Hertel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Context: Ankle sprains are common occurrences in athletic and general populations. High volumes of ankle sprains elevate the clinical burden on athletic trainers (ATs). The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) published a position statement regarding the treatment and management of ankle sprains, but certain factors might affect an AT’s ability to effectively implement the recommendations. Objective: To evaluate ATs’ current understanding, perceptions, and difficulties regarding the treatment, management, and long-term effects of ankle sprains. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Online survey instrument. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 796 ATs (years certified ¼ 12.1 6 9.2) across all athletic training job settings. Main Outcome Measure(s): Participants completed a 38-question survey that addressed their demographic characteristics, as well as their perceptions and knowledge of the epidemiology, treatment, and management of ankle sprains. The survey was also used to document participants’ patient education practices and attitudes toward the NATA position statement regarding ankle sprains, along with the challenges of and pressures against implementation. Descriptive statistics, correlations, and analyses of variance were used to analyze the data and evaluate group differences and relationships. Results: Of the participants, 83% demonstrated a moderate understanding of fundamental ankle sprain epidemiology. Group differences regarding patient education were seen by education levels, years certified, and job setting. Overall, 38.1% of ATs were either unsure or unaware of the NATA position statement, but those who were aware rated its usefulness at 3.89 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not useful at all; 3, neutral; and 5, very useful. On average, 1.9 6 0.88 challenges to implementing effective treatment practices were documented, and 2.0 6 0.95 pressures to return athletes to play after ankle sprain were reported. Conclusions: Nearly 40% of the ATs were either unaware or unsure of the current recommendations regarding how patients with ankle sprains are treated, which could affect how care is delivered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-972
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Athletic Training
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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