The purpose of this study was to develop a competency based undergraduate sports medicine curriculum for universities in the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.). The survey questionnaire used in this study was derived from five performance domains and universal competencies of the 1995 Role Delineation Study For Entry-Level Athletic Trainers (NATA-BOC, 1995).
The sample in this study consisted of all 180 athletic trainers, medical doctors, and sport educators from the Korean Society of Sports Medicine (KSSM) in the R.O.K. One hundred eighty survey questionnaires were sent to the subjects. Of the 180 questionnaires, 104 were returned out. Two were discarded because they were incomplete. The 102 questionnaires yielded a 56.7% overall return rate. Frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations were computed to describe the data. One way ANOVA and Scheffe post-hoc tests were used to analyze the data.
Results of this study indicated that there was a strong need for a sports medicine curriculum in the R.O.K. The subjects rated the NATA sports medicine competencies in five performance domains to be either “important” or “very important”. The results of one-way ANOVA tests indicated there were statistically significant differences between groups in their competency ratings in Domain I, Domain II, Domain III and Domain V. The results of the Scheffe post-hoc tests indicated the means of competency ratings in the four domains by the athletic trainers were statistically significantly higher than the means of the medical doctors. In general, the findings of this study support competencies developed by the NATA and utilized by most United States colleges and universities. The researcher made a few modifications of the current NATA approved curriculum, commensurate with the findings of this study.
Since the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, interest in sport activities and sport education has grown rapidly in the Republic of Korea (Lim, 1997). However, there is a prevalence of sport injuries in secondary schools, colleges and universities in the R.O.K because young athletes are susceptible to injury (An, Yoo & Kim, 1992). Most institutions in the R.O.K. do not provide a qualified athletic trainer because there is no formal, standard sports medicine training program in the R.O.K. (Lee, 1995).
The value of having an athletic trainer in secondary schools, colleges and universities for the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries has been well-documented (Hossler, 1993; Rankin, 1998). The findings of these studies indicated an athletic trainer provided by institutions significantly reduced the rate of injury and re-injury.
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and many researchers in the United States have studied professional preparation for athletic trainers since the inception of the NATA. Competencies developed by the NATA and utilized by most United States colleges and universities served as a basis to develop a competency based undergraduate sports medicine curriculum in the R.O.K.
The sample in this study consisted of all 180 members of the Korean Society of Sports Medicine (KSSM). Athletic trainers, medical doctors, and sport educators in the R.O.K. comprised this membership. The researcher obtained a list of the member names and addresses from the KSSM officials. One hundred and four questionnaires were returned. Two of these were discarded because they were incomplete. The 102 questionnaires yielded a 56.7% overall return rate.
Following a review of related literature, an initial survey questionnaire instrument to measure the importance of the competencies of entry-level athletic trainers was derived from five performance domains and the universal competencies of the NATA role delineation study, third edition (NATA-BOC, 1995).
Frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations were used to describe the data. One way ANOVA and the Scheffe post-hoc tests were used to analyze subject demographic characteristics. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to determine the differences between means of competency ratings in five performance domains based on the subject employment. When the results of the ANOVA test were statistically significant, the Scheffe post-hoc test was conducted to determine where differences between means existed. Statistical significance was accepted at p<.05.
Demographic Characteristics of Subjects
Of the total 102 subjects, 26 (25.5%) were athletic trainers, 32 (31.4%) were medical doctors and 44 (43.1%) were sport educators. The majority of the subjects were males, had an advanced degree, and were in the age group of 31 – 50 years. Most subjects (80.3%) had one to 10 years of experience in sports medicine, whereas the rest had no experience in sports medicine. Only fifty percent of the subjects devoted 25% or more of their daily work to sports medicine.
Most subjects (87.2%) expressed “needed” to “strongly needed” for a sports medicine curriculum in the R.O.K.
Ratings of NATA Competencies
The findings indicated the subjects rated the NATA five domains of sports medicine competencies to be either “important” or “very important”. The subjects rated Domain II (Recognition, Evaluation, and Immediate Care of Athletic Injuries) to be the most important. Domain III (Rehabilitation and Reconditioning of Athletic Injuries), Domain I (Prevention of Athletic Injuries), Domain V (Professional Development and Responsibility) and Domain IV (Health Care Administration) followed in order of importance.
The results of one-way ANOVA tests indicated there were statistically significant differences between the subject groups in their competency ratings of Domain I (Prevention of Athletic Injuries), Domain II (Recognition, Evaluation and Immediate Care of Athletic Injuries), Domain III (Rehabilitation and Reconditioning of Athletic Injuries) and Domain V (Professional Development and Responsibility). Statistical significance was not found for Domain IV (Health Care Administration). The results of the Scheffe post-hoc tests indicated the means of competency ratings in the four domains by the athletic trainers were statistically significantly higher than the means of the medical doctors.
Ratings of Sports Medicine Curricular Components for R.O.K. Universities
The subjects rated all 11 areas of basic knowledge to be “important” to “extremely important”. The most important area was domain-specific content. The other areas of the basic knowledge, ranked in order from most to least important, were as follows: athletic training evaluation, human anatomy, human physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, psychology/counseling, organization and administration, nutrition, physics and pharmacology.
The majority of the subjects believed a sports medicine program should be housed in the physical education (sport) department/college. Most subjects believed it is “very important” to “extremely important” to have an internship in order for students to prepare for careers in sports medicine. The majority of the subjects thought it necessary for a student to have more than 1,000 work hours for a successful internship experience in sports medicine. The majority of the subjects believed the internship should be for 12 semester credit hours.
An Undergraduate Sports Medicine Curriculum for Universities in the R.O.K.
The findings support competencies developed by the NATA and utilized by most colleges and universities in the United States. The researcher made a few modifications to the current NATA approved curriculum, commensurate with the findings of this study. The following subject areas comprise an undergraduate sports medicine curriculum for universities in the R.O.K.:
- Sports Medicine Subject Areas
- First aid and emergency care
- Prevention of athletic injuries/illnesses
- Evaluation of athletic injuries/illness
- Therapeutic modalities
- Therapeutic exercise
- Administration of athletic training programs
- Science Subject Areas
- Human anatomy
- Human physiology
- Exercise physiology
- Health Related Subject Areas
- Personal and community health
The above subject areas should constitute the academic core of the curriculum. However, institutions should not be required to offer specific courses, as long as there is evidence that each subject area is addressed within the curriculum and students are able to demonstrate an acceptable level of knowledge and skills in each area.
An internship should be a minimum of 1,000 hours of work experience in the sports medicine field. The internship should include all of the knowledge and skills specific to the five domains of athletic training.
The results of this study indicated the subjects rated all NATA competency items to be “important” to “extremely important.” This would support the results of the NATA’s role delineation study (NATA-BOC, 1995). However, the rating of the NATA competency items by all of the subjects in this study were slightly lower than a similar study (Rudy, 1997). Rudy indicated all competency items were found to be “very important” to extremely important.” This may be explained by the differences in the subjects in Rudy’s study. The subjects in the present study were not only athletic trainers, but also medical doctors and sport educators, whereas Rudy’s study included only athletic trainers. The findings of the present study indicated athletic trainers were found to rate each competency significantly higher than medical doctors and sports educators.
Although it was still rated as being between “important” and very important,” the least important area of the 11 areas of basic knowledge areas in this study was pharmacology (Mean = 3.16). Rudy also found pharmacology (Mean = 3.49) to be the least important in his study. It may be meaningful to have pharmacology as a unit in other courses or make it a one or two-credit course.
The internship was found to be a very important component of a sports medicine curriculum in this study. The majority of the subjects in this study indicated a need for a minimum of 1,000 hours, whereas the current guidelines of the NATA approved program require a minimum of 800 hours.
Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made for the development and implementation of an undergraduate sports medicine program in the R.O.K.
- Ministry of Education officials in the R.O.K. should consider the curriculum model developed from this study as a standard for new undergraduate sports medicine programs.
- University officials in the R.O.K interested in establishing an undergraduate sports medicine program should use the curriculum model as a basis for program development.
- Universities should have a program director who has wide experience in the field of sports medicine and teaching experience in sports medicine. If qualified personnel can not be found in the R.O.K., consideration should be made to recruit personnel from the United States.
- To improve sports medicine programs, university officials in the R.O.K. should consider developing an international exchange program with American institutions which have credible sports medicine programs.
- The program director should develop good relationships with sports medicine organizations and communities in the R.O.K. in order to provide students with internships and increased job opportunities.
- The program director should consider having sports medicine experts as adjunct faculty members for the university. The adjunct faculty members can share their expertise with students, which may make the program stronger.
- University officials should consider providing a sports medicine program to prepare students for entry-level athletic training along with a teaching credential in order to provide students with more job opportunities and higher salaries. The curriculum should meet the requirements of athletic training and teaching.
The following recommendations are made for further study:
- This study should serve as a basis for developing a graduate sports medicine curriculum in the R.O.K.
- As the scope and practice of athletic training changes, similar studies should be conducted periodically to update competencies of entry-level athletic trainers and to modify the curriculum accordingly.
- A replicate study could be conducted to develop an undergraduate sports medicine curriculum for other countries that lack professional preparation programs in sports medicine.
- Additional research should be conducted to determine the reasons for differences in the evaluation of the competencies by athletic trainers, medical doctors and sport educators.
An, I., Yoo, T., & Kim, C. (1992). A study of high school students’ sports activity and related injuries in Jinju. Korean Journal of Sports Medicine, 10(1), 63-76.
Hossler, P. (1993). The high school athletic training program – An organization guide. Dubuque IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.
Lee, E. (1998). How to become an athletic trainer, Tennis Korea, 11, 76-77.
National Athletic Trainers’ Association. (1995) 1995 Role delineation study of the entry-level athletic trainer.
Lim, B. (1997). The relationship between the leisure types and the satisfaction of the university students. The Journal of Hankuk Sports Association, 35(4), 408-440.
Rudy, J. (1997). Educational requirements for high school athletic trainers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Department of Secondary Education, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansa.
Rankin, J. (1989). Athletic training education – new dimensions. JOPERD, 68-71.
I would like to acknowledge the following people for their special contributions which made this study possible: Dr. Lawrence Bestmann, Dr. William Carroll, Dr. Richard DeSchriver, Dr. Jae-Woo Kim, Dr. Pete Koehneke, and Dr. Young-Jun Park.