Athletic training services during daily patient encounters: A report from the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Athletic training services such as taping, wrapping, and stretching are common during routine care but rarely captured in traditional patient documentation. These clinical data are vital when determining appropriate medical coverage and demonstrating the value and worth of athletic trainers (ATs). Objective: To analyze clinical data from daily encounter forms within the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network (AT-PBRN). Design: Descriptive study. Setting: Secondary school athletic training clinics. Patients or Other Participants: Adolescent patients (n = 4888; age = 16.3 ± 1.4 years) seeking care from ATs. Main Outcome Measure(s): We used Web-based electronic medical records from December 1, 2009, to July 1, 2015, to obtain patient characteristics via deidentified data. Descriptive data regarding practice characteristics from patient encounter forms were analyzed and reported as percentages and frequencies. Results: A total of 36 245 patient encounters (mean=7.5 ± 11.6 encounters per patient) were recorded. Football, basketball, soccer, track, and volleyball accounted for 85.1% of all encounters. Most encounters were for preventive services (48.8%, n = 22 329), followed by care for a current injury (37.2%, n=17 027) and care for a new injury (13.9%, n=6368). Of the preventive encounters, taping (52.7%) was the most common service provided, followed by ice- or hot-pack application (25.4%) and treatment (9.6%). Taping (28.7%) was also the most common service for current injuries, followed by treatment (26.7%) and ice- or hot-pack application (26.2%). Conclusions: Our findings highlight the unique role of ATs as health care providers who provide substantial preventive services to their patients. Further, these results represent one of the first attempts to describe athletic training services related to nontime-loss injuries, emphasizing the significant role that ATs play in the health care of secondary school athletes. These findings should help clinicians and administrators make more informed decisions regarding appropriate medical coverage.

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