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Publisher Description

Since the passage of Title IX legislation in the United States, more opportunities have been available to females in sport, with female collegiate team participation increasing from only 16 000 participants in 1968 to more than 180000 participants in 2008. (1) Even as the number of women playing sports has increased, men still dominate the ranks of athletic administration, including athletic training positions. (1) Although the number of women in athletic training has increased and will undoubtedly continue to grow as women's interest and opportunities in athletics further expand, female head athletic trainers (ATs) are still underrepresented at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I level. (1,2) Despite the fact that women have assumed head athletic training positions in some Division II and Division III athletic programs, the number of women at Division 1 and in professional programs has been limited. Almost all schools in all divisions of college athletics have an AT, but only 15.2% of NCAA Division I schools have female head ATs. (3) Furthermore, when examining specific sports, football is the most cost intensive of the collegiate sports, with Division I universities spending, on average, more than $2 million per year on their programs, well above the amount spent on any other male sport or female sport teams. (4) In addition, football is among only a few high-profile sports, including basketball and baseball, in which women's access into the athletic training room has been limited. Specifically, Coakley (5) described the perception of football as a game for the tough and strong and, therefore, as a sport requiring masculinity. Thus, football is one of the last male-dominated areas of sport, as demonstrated by the lack of women in football athletic training rooms. (3) The continued dominance of men in sport leadership (1) and the fact that hegemonic masculinity continues to pervade traditionally male-dominated sports have created a challenge for women who have struggled to become head ATs. (6) Stereotypical gender-role expectations and resistance to women in the male locker room are partially accountable for this underrepresentation. (7) In addition, male athletes reported discomfort when provided care by female ATs, especially when the injuries or conditions were of a more intimate nature. (8) Although preferences for same-sex practitioners have varied across various health care settings, evidence (9) indicates that when a condition is more intimate, a preference does exist. The findings of Franks and Bertakis (10) were similar to those seen for other health care professionals (8): most males and females prefer to receive health care from a practitioner of the same sex if and when the injury or condition is of a more intimate nature.

Sports & Outdoors
July 1
National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.

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