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.
Bates DK. Opioids and an Active Population: Athletic Trainers' Perceptions. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2020 Jan 10;18(1), Article 4.