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Publication Title

National Athletic Trainers Association









Although evidence-based practice (EBP) has become more prevalent, athletic trainers' perceptions of importance and knowledge of these concepts and their confidence in EBP are largely unknown.


To assess perceived importance and knowledge of and confidence in EBP concepts in athletic trainers in various roles and with different degree levels.


Cross-sectional study.


Online survey instrument.

Patients or Other Participants:

The survey was sent to 6702 athletic training educators, clinicians, and postprofessional students. A total of 1209 completed the survey, for a response rate of 18.04%.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Demographic information and perceived importance and knowledge of and confidence in the steps of EBP were obtained. One-way analysis of variance, a Kruskal-Wallis test, and an independent-samples t test were used to determine differences in scores among the demographic variables.


Athletic trainers demonstrated low knowledge scores (64.2% ± 1.29%) and mild to moderate confidence (2.71 ± 0.55 out of 4.0). They valued EBP as moderately to extremely important (3.49 ± 0.41 out of 4.0). Perceived importance scores differed among roles (clinicians unaffiliated with an education program scored lower than postprofessional educators, P = .001) and highest educational degree attained (athletic trainers with terminal degrees scored higher than those with bachelor's or master's degrees, P < .001). Postprofessional athletic training students demonstrated the highest total EBP knowledge scores (4.65 ± 0.91), whereas clinicians demonstrated the lowest scores (3.62 ± 1.35). Individuals with terminal degrees had higher (P < .001) total knowledge scores (4.31 ± 1.24) than those with bachelor's (3.78 ± 1.2) or master's degrees (3.76 ± 1.35). Postprofessional educators demonstrated greater confidence in knowledge scores (3.36 ± 0.40 out of 4.0) than did those in all other athletic training roles (P < .001).


Overall knowledge of the basic EBP steps remained low across the various athletic trainers' roles. The higher level of importance indicated that athletic trainers valued EBP, but this value was not reflected in the knowledge of EBP concepts. Individuals with a terminal degree possessed higher knowledge scores than those with other educational preparations; however, EBP knowledge needs to increase across all demographics of the profession.

Original Publication Citation

Hankemeier, D. A., Walter, J. M., McCarty, C. W., Newton, E. J., Walker, S. E., Pribesh, S. L., . . . Van Lunen, B. L. (2013). Use of evidence-based practice among athletic training educators, clinicians, and students, part 1: Perceived importance, knowledge, and confidence. Journal of Athletic Training, 48(3), 394-404. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-48.2.16