CONTEXT: Parents play a crucial role in determining medical services for their children, and it is important they understand the scope of practice and skills of the athletic trainer (AT).
OBJECTIVE: To understand parents' perceptions and knowledge of the skills and job requirements of the secondary school AT.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTINGS: Sport meetings and banquets at 5 high schools in Southwest Michigan during the fall, winter, and spring seasons.
PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: A total of 539 parents, whose children competed in at least 1 high school sport, participated.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: A Parents' Perceptions and Knowledge of Certified Athletic Trainers Survey consisting of 32 questions, divided into 3 sections (demographics, perceptions, and knowledge) was developed and given to parents of high school athletes. One-way analyses of variance were used to determine significance among 3 categories of experience and perception and knowledge of ATs.
RESULTS: Of the 539 parents who responded, 72% responded no, and 28% responded yes to having experience with an AT for their own injuries. When asked if they had experience with an AT due to their child's injuries, 60% responded yes. We found a difference among the 3 categories of experience for perception scores (P = .002) and knowledge scores (P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: In the absence of past experience with an AT, parents' perceptions and knowledge of the skills and job requirements of the secondary school AT are limited. Athletic trainers should educate parents on their professional roles, which may enhance their ability to provide better health care.
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