Assessing Factors on Self-Efficacy of Athletic Trainers for Concussion Management and Return-to-Play Decisions

William Harris, Michigan State University, USA
Tracey Covassin, USA
Jamie Deitrick, Michigan State University, USA

Theme: Injury/trauma/rehabilitation

Poster Number: 121

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Researchers estimate that between 1.6 and 3.8 million sport-related concussions occur each year in the United States. Athletic trainers (AT) are one of the primary health care providers in athletics and are in a key position to recognize, evaluate, and manage sports-related concussions. However, there is very little research evaluating resources available and self-efficacy in ATs and their ability to assess and manage concussions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the self-efficacy beliefs of ATs during concussion management and determine what factors may have an effect on how confident they feel in making initial and return-to-play decisions for athletes. Surveys were mailed out to 3,000 randomly selected ATs with a response rate of 19.6% (N=589). A selection of survey questions presented were number of concussions observed each year, involvement in continued education, presence of return-to-play laws and policies, concussion education, access to neuropsychological testing, and the perception from the ATs if their resources are sufficient. Results indicated that the higher the number of concussion exposures for an AT, the higher their self-efficacy (0-10 vs 50+; p<.001). Other factors found to have a significant effect on self-efficacy were if each AT had attended a seminar or continued education in the past 6-12 months (p=0.02), whether each AT had access to computerized neropsychological testing (p<.001), and if each AT felt their resources available were adequate or not (p<.001). There was also a significant effect with state laws and policies between ATs that knew if their policies and laws were present and ATs that lacked knowledge of them (p<.001). Our findings support the need for more available resources and training available to ATs in assessing and managing concussions. Understanding what may allow ATs to practice more confidently will help improve the care they provide to concussed athletes.

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