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Hammerschmidt, Dawn M.; Ph.D.
Program of Human Development, Wellness;  
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
October 2008

The Prevalence of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Certified Members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association    

Major Professor: Dr. Donna Terbizan


The purpose of the study was to examine the prevalence of work-related musculosketetal disorders among certified members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.  A random sample of 6,500 certified athletic trainers (ATC) representing 3 employment settings was sampled using a reliable and valid survey, the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire.  A response rate of 34.4% was achieved using an electronic survey via email.  Six research questions were examined regarding various aspects of work-related musculosketetal disorders (WRMD) and the profession of athletic training.  The relationship between gender and WRMD in ATC revealed that women reported significantly (p < .006) more WRMD in the past 12 months than males in 5 of 9 body regions (neck, shoulders, wrist/hand, upper back, and hip/thigh).  Males reported significantly (p < .013) greater WRMD compared to females in the past 12 months in the elbow/forearm.  Statistical tests that examined the relationship between gender and WRMD that prevented ATC from doing work at home or away from home and prevalence within the last seven days were inconclusive.  Lifetime prevalence of WRMD between the genders found that only females showed a significant (p < .016) relationship for the neck and wrist/hand.  Younger ATC (20-30 year old versus 30-66+ year old) reported significantly (p < .043) greater WRMD in the neck, shoulder, elbow/forearm, upper back, and hip/thigh regions.  The relationship between the number of years employed as an ATC and WRMD revealed that employment within 0-5 years versus 6-21+ years was significant (p < .044) for the neck, shoulders, and upper back while 6-21+ was significant (p < .003) for the elbow/forearm and hip/thigh.  Relative to the number of hours worked per week and WRMD. There were no significant (p < .050) differences between the nine body regions relative to the number of hours worked per week (40 hours and less versus 41 hours and more).  No significant relationship was noted between a specific employment setting (clinical, college/university, and high school) and WRMD.  Prevalence rates in the 9 body regions were also examined.  The low back had the highest prevalence rate of WRMD at 67.9% followed by the neck, 60.0%; the shoulder, 46.3%; the knee, 38.3%; the upper back, 34.9%; the wrist/hand, 31.0%; the ankle/foot, 30.9%; the hip/thigh, 16.5%; and the elbow/forearm, 15.8%.  The following conclusions were noted:  ATC do suffer a high prevalence of WRMD.  Based on this current study, the need to spread awareness of WRMD in ATC, the need to incorporate WRMD discussions into the education process of athletic training students, and the need to incorporate education of WRMD and safety measures in the clinical setting to prevent WRMD from occurring in the workplace are suggestions for the athletic training profession.

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Published by North Dakota State University

Last Updated: Monday, November 21, 2011 2:58:59 PM