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Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Kinesiology

Abstract

Context: Over the past twenty years, the number of athletes diagnosed and treated with a sports hernia has increased significantly. A sports hernia is a chronic injury which produces debilitating groin pain caused by a tear or weakness of the transversalis fascia causing compression of the ilioinguinal nerve. Athletes diagnosed with sports hernias are often unable to continue their sport unless they get surgery. Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are commonly the first people to evaluate an injured athlete and must be knowledgeable in sports hernia recognition and treatment.
Objective: To examine if ATCs have the appropriate knowledge of sports hernias and to see where ATCs have learned about sports hernias.
Methodology: An 18-question electronic questionnaire was randomly sent out to 1,000 ATCs who are members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. We received 116 complete responses and 130 incomplete responses. Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics and a Chi-Square analysis with level of significant set at 0.05.
Results: Overall, the data suggests that ATCs are able to distinguish a sports hernia. 78% of respondents would consider a sports hernia as one of three diagnoses. ATCs can recognize which populations are most likely to suffer from a sports hernia and when it came to identifying the anatomical structures affected in a sports hernia, 66% of ATCs were able to correctly answer, while 29% are still getting the injury confused with a “true” hernia (inguinal or femoral). There is also a significant Chi-Square value of 17.12 [p-value: 0.00] between means of years as an ATC and means of whether or not respondents felt that their undergraduate education prepared them for sports hernia assessment.
Conclusion: ATCs seem to have an adequate understanding of sports hernia recognition, assessment, and treatment. Specifically, ATCs who were certified 0-5 years ago are more confident in assessing and treating sports hernias than ATCs certified 6 years and more, most likely due to athletic training education changes within the last eight years emphasizing a focused curriculum. Secondly, since sports hernias have been increasing in incidence since the 1990s, ATCs may have better knowledge and confidence with the injury.

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