The athletic training world is lacking all kinds of diversity and lots of efforts being made are attempting to change that.
The representation of minorities in the NCAA is outnumbered by white athletes in almost every sport category. The only exception is men’s basketball where black athletes comprise 44.4% of representation compared to 42.5% of white athletes.
Looking at the member base of the National Athletic Training Association (NATA), 81% are white. The lack of minority representation in the athletic training field can cause multiple kinds of issues.
“We have to let the minorities know what athletic training is,” said Appalachian State’s Director of Athletic Training Services, Jon Mitchell. “I think inner cities don’t have exposure to athletic training knowledge.”
Mitchell went on to say, “I also think time constraint is a factor in the underrepresentation of minorities in athletic training. The field is so demanding. Most student athletes that are interested in studying and getting involved in the athletic training program have to try and balance playing sports and training.”
“There are two main routes at App State to get a degree in athletic training- entry level bachelors and entry level master’s. Now, it is changing. The entry level bachelor degree is being replaced altogether with entry level master’s. I believe once the entry level master’s degree is implemented, it will increase awareness to minorities at App State and more will become involved,” Mitchell said.
Cultural competence is a necessity for athletic trainers to have. There are many minority athletes with diverse, cultural backgrounds. A specific culture may have different ethnic or religious traditions that could potentially effect an athlete’s treatment or recovery process. Trainers must get to know as much as they can about the athlete and their culture to ensure treatments and recovery are successful.
NATA is aware of the underrepresentation of minorities in the athletic training world. They have many resources related to the study of athletic training diversity on their website such as: statistics, opportunities for mentoring, scholarships and a grant program.
NATA’s Diversity Enhancement Grant Program offers up to $5,000 in three categories to help support and progress diversity within athletic training. NATA also has an iLead Grant Program. Ethnically diverse athletic training students submit an application and upon approval, can attend NATA’s iLead student leadership conference free of charge.
There are important resources available and efforts being made by NATA to help progress the process of diversifying the athletic training profession.