Term of Award

Spring 2022

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

Tamerah Hunt

Committee Member 1

Nancy Malcom

Committee Member 2

Christina Gipson


Introduction: Interpersonal relationships are the most frequent types of relationships individuals maintain on a daily basis. Rapport provides the foundation necessary to build positive interpersonal relationships, specifically, collegial relationships such as the relationship between the athletic trainer and coach. However, facilitators and barriers exist that may hinder relationships. Specifically, race appears to influence relationships, but to date, it appears race has not been examined in the athletic trainer-coach relationship. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the facilitators and barriers to building rapport in race-discordant athletic trainer-coach relationships and to examine the role race plays within the athletic trainer-coach relationship. Methods: A convenience sample of ten ethnic minority secondary school athletic trainers were interviewed via a semi-structured interview guide derived using the Gratch model. Purposeful sampling from the convenience sample was obtained through personal contacts, social networking, the Group Me app, and additional snowball sampling. Results: Seven themes were developed throughout the study, even a couple of themes had subthemes. Those seven themes were same race mutual understanding, cross-race mutual understanding, same race connectedness, same race communication, cross-race communication, same race barriers, and cross-race barriers. Further, the Gratch model is an appropriate assessment of facilitators for building rapport. However, a sequential approach (Communication-connectedness-mutual understanding) may be necessary for human-to-human rapport building.Conclusion: Facilitators of rapport building included positive communication, connectedness and mutual understanding was necessary regardless of race, which is consistent with the previous literature. Cognitive, emotional, and behavioralrapport are essential for a solid foundation in a positive relationship. Ineffective rapport sectors and various barriers (such as mis trust, being too comfortable, etc.) inhibit positive relationship building in the athletic trainer-coach relationship. Race within this relationship couldn’t be determined to be the sole barrier but may be a mitigating factor that intersects with the other facilitators and barriers that affect building a positive relationship between the coach and athletic trainer.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material