Term of Award

Summer 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 and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Charles H. Wilson

Committee Member 1

Tamerah Hunt

Committee Member 2

Christina Gipson


INTRODUCTION: There are a substantial amount of sport related injuries recorded at the high school age and it has been recorded as a public health concern in a vast amount of health literature. Although participating in sports has a risk of injury associated with it, it is common for high school athletes to underreport injuries. But there is no known literature on injury reporting behaviors of musculoskeletal injuries in the high school athletic population. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the barriers and facilitators to musculoskeletal injury reporting and towards playing injured in athletes that attend a rural, Title I high school.

METHODS: A qualitative study was conducted utilizing a purposeful, convenience sample to form four focus groups with athletes from American football, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, and girls’ soccer. A semi-structured interview guide was used to interview participants and was audio recorded via Zoom. Focus group responses were transcribed verbatim as part of a thematic analysis and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) lens was used to guide the discussion.

RESULTS: Five themes emerged from the focus group responses including healthcare trust and mistrust, social pressures, internal pressures, injury attitudes, and desire to play. Barriers including a poor coaching dynamic, professional sports, mistrust in healthcare, emphasis on winning, and poor injury attitudes were significant predictors of low intention to injury reporting. The primary facilitator of injury reporting found in this study resulting as a strong predictor for high intention to musculoskeletal injury reporting was a good relationship with the athletic trainer.

CONCLUSION: The current findings suggest that there are more barriers to injury reporting than there are facilitators, resulting in the behavior to play through pain and injury. The TPB can be extended to musculoskeletal injury reporting behaviors to determine the intention to report an injury which will determine the likelihood to report a musculoskeletal injury. The predictors of the TPB should be used to educate stakeholders to help protect the health and safety of high school athletes.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material