Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Douglas J. Casa; Lindsay J. DiStefano

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Campus Access


Educators Selection of Pedagogical Strategies to Prepare the Entry Level Athletic Trainer on Techniques Related to Sudden Death in Sport

Salvatore AS, Mazerolle SM, Yabor TM, Pagnotta KD, Casa DJ: University of Connecticut, Storrs; CT


Context: Educational training is an important factor for the athletic trainer to gain appropriate knowledge and clinical competence. Unfortunately, not all athletic trainers receive proper training and feedback regarding topics related to sudden death in sport, particularly EHS. Objective: To gain a more in-depth understanding of the educational training provided to the athletic training student regarding sudden death in sport, beyond EHS. Design: An inductive qualitative study utilizing phone interviewing. Setting: Athletic Training Education Programs. Patients or Other Participants: 12 faculty members (8 males; 4 females) in athletic training programs accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). Years of Board Certification was 15 ± 9 years, while the average years as a faculty member was 13 ± 8 years, and the average years worked clinically was 11 ± 10. Data Collection and Analysis: One-on-one phone interviews following a semi-structured format were conducted with all participants. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and shared with participants prior to analysis. Interviews were analyzed inductively borrowing from the principles of a grounded theory approach and open coding. Multiple analyst triangulation and peer review were included as steps to establish data credibility. Results: Two dominant themes emerged from the data: current trends and instructional methods. Current trends were classified as those topics related to sudden death that were considered to be “hot topics” within the media. Although information presented was driven by the NATA Position Statements, considerable attention was spent on cardiac, cervical spine, and head injuries, while limited time was focused on heat illnesses, asthma, or anaphylaxis. The theme was also reflective of regional bias as well as individual professional experiences of the instructors teaching the material. Together these factors influenced how much time was dedicated to and how in-depth each of the conditions of sudden death were covered. Instructional methods reflects the faculty members attempt to provide “real life” learning experiences through simulations and case studies, which ultimately yielded little clinical skill integration and relied more on discourse. Also, educators relied on time spent in clinical education as means to hopefully provide real-time exposure in emergency situations. Conclusions: Management of sudden death in sport requires the athletic trainer to be prepared to act quickly, efficiently, while following the recommended practices. Athletic training educators must be prepared, regardless of their previous experiences or personal biases, to provide educational training regarding most causes of sudden death in sport. Furthermore, to facilitate clinical integration and competency, the student must be challenged to implement their knowledge and skill in order to feel prepared to appropriately respond to an emergency situation. Exposure to every medical emergency is implausible, yet opportunities must be afforded to the student to implement their critical decision making abilities. Word Count: 449

Major Advisor

Stephanie M. Mazerolle