Term of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Name

Master of Science, Kinesiology - Athletic Training Concentration

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Christina Gipson

Committee Member 1

Tamarah Hunt

Committee Member 2

Matthew Flynn

Committee Member 3

Emily Newell

Committee Member 3 Email



Context: International student-athletes (ISAs) are a unique population that must overcome challenges associated both with being an international student as well as with being a student-athlete(Bradley, 2000; Bentzinger, 2016). These challenges include the increased likelihood of injury and the subsequent need for healthcare. Athletic trainers are responsible for providing and coordinating healthcare for student-athletes when it is needed. In order to provide high-quality care, it is important that they understand the unique values and experiences of each individual athlete (Unruh, 1998).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine how cultural factors and past experience impact health behavior in international student-athletes.

Intervention: Semi-structured interviews guided by a framework adapted from the Health Traditions Model and The Theory of Health Lifestyles (Spector, 1979; Cockerham, 2012)

Findings: ISAs come from a variety of different backgrounds. All grew up with. families that provided them with the support they needed to develop into competitive athletes. Most ISAs move to the U.S for the opportunity of pursuing an education while continuing their athletic career. When competing in collegiate athletes, ISAs develop a fear of becoming injured. This is driven by the threat of lost playing time, jeopardizes their ability to earn a scholarship, as well as the need to navigate a healthcare system with which they are unfamiliar. ISAs lack an understanding of the healthcare system, and hold the perception that American healthcare is unaffordable. The fear of these consequences of injury serve as a source of anxiety for ISAs.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material