The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: M.S.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Steven McCullar

Second Advisor

Rachel Friedensen

Third Advisor

Emeka Ikegwuonu

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Athletic Training, Professional Sports, Female Athletic Trainers, Athletic Training Programs, Work-Life Balance


Female athletic trainers working in male professional sports are represented at a number strongly disproportionate to the number of female athletic trainers making up the profession. This research study works to focus on how athletic training education programs (ATP) have successfully set up the female athletic trainers who have made it to professional sports. The goal was to focus on what these education programs were doing to set their students apart from other athletic training programs. Three female athletic trainers currently working in male professional sports were interviewed for this qualitative research study by utilizing semi-structured interviewing. The data was then coded using In Vivo coding, concept coding, and sub coding. Combining these techniques allowed the researcher to best analyze the data for common themes among the participant's responses. The paper will discuss these themes in greater detail towards the end of the paper, arguing there are specific things athletic training education programs can do to help propel their students to the professional leagues. Areas of future need and focus were described as well throughout the course of the study.


This thesis would not have been possible without the blind support and faith of my family, friends, and committee. The countless hours I spent discussing my ideas with my wonderful parents, girlfriend, roommate, and friends is what allowed this paper to come to life in the ways it has. Writing this paper has been a dream of mine since I started my academic journey back in 2015 and will hopefully be the sounding board of many more studies to come.

A special thank you to Dr. Steven McCullar, my thesis advisor, for taking me on despite me being six months behind during a global pandemic. Without his guidance, support, and honest moments of truth, I would not have been able to write this paper. Thank you to Dr. Rachel Friedensen for reassuring me and teaching me the ins and outs of qualitative research at all moments of this journey. And a thank you to Dr. Emeka Ikegwuonu for providing thoughtful and necessary feedback, challenging me to think about things in new ways.

Thank you to the women who participated in my study; it is my hope the discussions we had will help to inspire someone to see there is potential within this career path for them. The stories you shared with me were impactful and gave me a sense of hope that the tides are changing.

Lastly, a thank you to Sara Shuger-Fox, John Roslien, Shelli Green, and Frank Neu, my first mentors, and the first people to believe in me and my future success within this profession. Without y’all showing me how to believe in myself I would not be where I am today.



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