Purpose: Opioid use, misuse, and abuse are occurring in both high school and collegiate athletes. There is limited research that examines athletic trainers' perceptions of opioids. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to investigate athletic trainers’ awareness and practice of opioids in an active population. Method: Qualitative inquiry was used to explore athletic trainers' awareness of opioids in an active population. Ten athletic trainers (7 male, 3 female) employed in the Northwest Athletic Training Association (6 collegiate, 4 high schools) volunteered for this study. Phone interviews were conducted in July to September 2017 with a semi-structured interview protocol. Interview data were analyzed inductively to uncover dominant themes, first by organizing the data, then summarizing into codes, and finally interpreting. Trustworthiness included both peer review and member checks. Results: Three themes emerged from this study regarding athletic trainers' practice with opioids: 1) athletic trainers have a responsibility to their patients regarding opioids, 2) communication with patients about opioids, and 3) athletic trainer perceived a lack of education regarding opioids. Conclusions: Evidence demonstrated that athletic trainers feel they have a role with opioids and their patients. While the majority of participants in this study did discuss opioids with their patients, athletic trainers felt they were lacking knowledge of opioids. Future research should explore athletic trainers’ knowledge and education surrounding opioids and an active population.

Author Bio(s)

Dana K Bates, PhD, ATC, is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education for the Athletic Training program at Pacific University.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.