Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations


Public Relations & Advertising


Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts


Litwin, Larry


Athletic trainers; Public relations


Public Relations and Advertising


This study's purpose was to determine the general public's knowledge, attitudes and behaviors relative to the certified athletic trainer's professional role and educational background.

Two-hundred and seventy-nine people completed an 11-question intercept survey. Results indicate the athletic training professional faces many perception barriers with the general public.

Only 12 percent identified an "athletic trainer" as one of the on-field healthcare providers for injured professional football players. More than half failed to correctly describe what an athletic trainer does. Many responses indicate the public confuses certified athletic trainers with "personal trainers" and other strength and conditioning professionals. Eighty-four percent of the respondents were unable to define the acronym "ATC," the credential that identifies a certified athletic trainer.

Most (78 percent) "strongly agreed" or "agreed" ATCs should be present at amateur athletic events; 64 percent felt four or more years of college was necessary to become an athletic trainer. However, only 32 percent selected a certified athletic trainer as their number one choice among other healthcare professionals when seeking sports injury care advice. For those with direct experience with an ATC, performance effectiveness ratings within each of the athletic training domains was generally favorable.