Purpose: To assess the digital health literacy (DHL) and musculoskeletal health literacy (MHL) levels of collegiate student-athletes. Methods: We used a cross-sectional survey to assess collegiate student-athletes (n=160) health literacy using the Digital Health Literacy Instrument (DHLI) and Literacy in Musculoskeletal Problems (LiMP) tool. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: The majority of participants shared they accessed the Internet via smart phones and felt the Internet was important and useful to their health. On average, the participants scored a 3.36±0.38 on the DHLI. The LiMP score was 6.29±1.36, and 26.8% (n=15/56) of participants who completed the tool had limited or inadequate MHL. Conclusions: Most student-athletes possess adequate DHL and MHL. The findings directly impact patient education as student-athletes are using their phones to access health related information, which they feel comfortable with, but may not know if the source is trustworthy.

Author Bio(s)

Taylor R. Niles, SCAT, ATC is certified and licensed athletic trainer. She is a graduate of the Advanced Athletic Training program in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

Matthew J. Rivera, DAT, LAT, ATC is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation at Indiana State University for the Doctorate in Athletic Training program.

Toni M. Torres-McGehee, PhD, LAT, ATC is an Associate Professor, Director of Athletic Training Programs, and the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Arnold School of Public Health.

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

Zachary K. Winkelmann, PhD, SCAT, ATC is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the professional and post-professional athletic training programs at the University of South Carolina. He also serves as the clinical education coordinator.


We would like to thank Jodee Roberts (Indiana State University) for her contributions and collaborations on this project.




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.