Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Athletic Training








Context: Athletic trainers (ATs) inconsistently apply rehabilitation-oriented assessments (ROASTs) when deciding return-to-activity readiness for patients with an ankle sprain. Facilitators and barriers that are most influential to ATs' assessment selection remain unknown.

Objective: To examine facilitators of and barriers to ATs' selection of outcome assessments when determining return-to-activity readiness for patients with an ankle sprain.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Online survey.

Patients or other participants: We sent an online survey to 10 000 clinically practicing ATs. The survey was accessed by 676 individuals, of whom 574 submitted responses (85% completion rate), and 541 respondents met the inclusion criteria.

Main outcome measure(s): The survey was designed to explore facilitators and barriers influencing ATs' selection of pain; ankle-joint swelling, range of motion, arthrokinematics, and strength; balance; gait; functional capacity; physical activity level; and patient-reported outcome assessments when making return-to-activity decisions for patients after an ankle sprain. The survey asked for reasons that participants chose to use or not use each measure (eg, previous education, personal comfort, most appropriate, available or feasible, perceived value, and other). The survey contained 12 demographic items that characterized the sample of respondents and were examined as potential influences on the facilitators and barriers. Chi-square analysis was used to identify relationships among participant demographics and facilitators of or barriers to assessment selection.

Results: Selection of each ROAST and non-ROAST was most commonly facilitated by previous education, availability or feasibility, or perceived value. Avoidance of each ROAST was most often caused by the lack of previous education, availability or feasibility, or perceived value. The presence of facilitators and barriers was affected by various demographic variables.

Conclusions: A variety of facilitators and barriers affected ATs' implementation of expert-recommended assessments when determining return-to-activity readiness in patients with an ankle sprain. Some subpopulations of ATs experienced more favorable or prohibitive conditions for assessment use.


© 2024 National Athletic Trainers' Association. All rights reserved.

Included with the kind written permission of the copyright holders.


0000-0003-3171-9141 (Cavallario)

Original Publication Citation

McCann, R. S., Welch Bacon, C. E., Suttmiller, A. M. B., Gribble, P. A., & Cavallario, J. M. (2024). Influences of athletic trainers' return-to-activity assessments for patients with an ankle sprain. Journal of Athletic Training, 59(2), 201-211.