Purpose: Athletic training student aides (SA) are minors in high school that participate in an athletic training experience under the supervision of secondary school athletic trainers (SSAT). The NATA published an official statement on the proper supervision of SAs related to task allowance. As SSATs may also supervise athletic training students (ATSs), it is important to understand the differences in both. Therefore, the objective was to explore the training, task allowance, and perspectives of SAs and ATSs by SSATs during clinical experiences. Methods: We used a cross-sectional, web-based survey for this study. SSATs (n=3,567) from the ATLAS database were recruited and 614 participants (age=39±11years, years credentialed=12±9years) completed the study. An online survey was developed to reflect the NATA official statement for task allowance and supervision of SAs and ATSs. Dependent variables included requirements and task allowance of the SA and ATS based on supervision (direct, autonomous, and restricted), and the personal perceptions from SSATs. Results: 76.5% of SSATs reported having SAs involved in their clinical practice. Less than 50% of SSATs implemented recommended trainings related to emergency preparedness, first aid, and patient privacy. When exploring task allowance, most SSATs were following best practice guidelines for job-related tasks. Additionally, SSATs were allowing ATSs to perform more tasks autonomously as compared to SAs. Conclusions: SSATs are mostly following best practice recommendations for task allowance, whereby they are providing supervision to SAs in the appropriate areas and not allowing certain duties. However, 100% compliance was not met, thus increasing risks to patients and the profession. SSATs should improve training and preparedness for the SAs involved in their clinical practice Additionally, SSATs are allowing ATSs to perform job-related tasks autonomously or with directed supervision during clinical experiences with the exception to administrative tasks and autonomous clinical-decision making.

Author Bio(s)

Zachary K. Winkelmann, MS, LAT, ATC, is a PhD Candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana State University. He is also a licensed and certified athletic trainer serving as a doctoral fellow for the athletic training programs.

Robert A. Huggins, PhD, LAT, ATC, is an Assistant Research Professor, President of Research and Athlete Performance, and Director Athletic Training Locations and Services (ATLAS) Project for the Korey Stringer Institute at The University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.

Lindsey E. Eberman, PhD, LAT, ATC, is a Professor at Indiana State University in the Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation.She is currently the Program Director for the Post-Professional Doctorate in Athletic Training Program.


The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the Korey Stringer Institute's, Athletic Training Locations and Services (ATLAS) Project, at the University of Connecticut for this project. Conclusions drawn from or recommendations based on the data provided by the KSI are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of the KSI.




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