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Higher EducationProfessional Development

Indiana State Athletic training students to lead national LGBTQ workgroup

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Article reposted from Indiana State University
Author: Betsy Simon

Three Indiana State University students in the Doctor of Athletic Training program will lead their first National Athletic Training Association-sponsored LGBTQ workgroup in athletic training this month.

As the workgroup’s founding members, Ashley Crossway, Emma Nye and Sean Rogers will lead the first diversity and inclusions workgroup of appointed members who include past and present NATA board of directors to create a mission, vision and foundation for the group’s future work, which received the NATA’s approval earlier this year.

“The DAT program has an emphasis on advocacy in the profession, so throughout the course of the students’ time here we have emphasized that in a variety of ways,” said Lindsey Eberman, associate professor in the applied medicine and rehabilitation department. “Our program requires a traditional research project and a practice-based research project, which provides a unique opportunity for students to do advocacy research.”

Crossway, Nye and Rogers talked about things they wanted to do to make changes in the profession and approached Eberman, who turned to colleagues. They suggested talking to alumni, specifically Marjorie Albohm, who was influential in mentoring the students before moving forward with their request to the NATA for the workgroup and their research.

Their research purpose was to survey the perceptions of athletic trainers and student-athletes about the LGBTQ community. They developed a survey that asked student-athletes perceptions of athletic trainers who identify as LGBTQ, athletic trainers’ perceptions of other athletic trainers who identify as LGBTQ and athletic trainers’ perceptions of student-athletes who identify as LGBTQ.

They went through the NCAA compliance officers to deploy one part of their three-part survey to student-athletes and worked with the National Athletic Trainers Association to establish a random sample of athletic trainers in Division I, II and III for their second and third parts of the study. The survey was completed by 623 student-athletes and 1,109 athletic trainers.Crossway’s passion for advocacy for the LGBTQ community developed long ago, but the Doctor of Athletic Training program helped her turn her passion into action.

“When we were in the master’s program, we had to write blogs for our advocacy website AT4AT, and I wrote one about the changing legislation when gay marriage was passed and there was some debate about my blog,” she said. “I met with Dr. Eberman and we reached out to someone in the profession about starting a members’ interest group in October of 2014. Essentially, I got shot down and I put it on the backburner.”

That is until Crossway and Nye began discussing research and joined forces with Rogers.

“I’m a member of the (Institutional Review Board) and we’ve heard of instances of individuals who were studying a particular population where the researcher was intimidated because of the research they were doing, and this is something we talked about before we distributed the surveys,” Eberman said.

But to the contrary, Crossway indicated, “I was surprised by how many positive emails we got when we were distributing our surveys. People were excited that we were doing this kind of research for the profession.”

The goal is this workgroup will eventually become representative of the entire nation, Eberman said.

“But these students have to lay down the groundwork for why it is important and what needs to be done and that could take time, partly because of the NATA’s funding structure,” she said. “You can’t just sit back. Even if the research gets published, if they’re not trying to get those results into the hands of people, if they’re not pushing for development of workgroups as an extension of the research, then it’s just a paper that is published. They’re reward is more work and more advocacy, but at least they now have a platform for that, whereas a year ago they did not.”

The results are being processed and will ideally create a platform to push for more advocacy for underrepresented groups within the NATA.

“A lot of the responses were positive, but there were also a lot of neutral responses and some negative responses,” Rogers said. “I think those negative and neutral responses are where we want to focus because LGBTQ individuals didn’t really have that advocate before the creation of this workgroup within the NATA, and we want to use the data to show the importance of the LGBTQ community having a voice within our profession.”

Crossway noticed respondents’ concerns for offending transgender people and uncertainty because of limited exposure to them. Similarly, Nye found a majority of athletic trainers expressed that they don’t have access to formal training or education on how to approach someone transitioning or other individuals within the transgender community.

“A lot of the athletic trainers responded that they didn’t know what pronoun to use and it makes them feel uncomfortable, but they said that if they knew which pronoun to use, they would have those types of conversations with athletes,” Nye said.

Eberman said Indiana State’s Doctor of Athletic Training program does offer a course on underserved populations in emerging settings and includes modules specific to this population.”We’re not perfect by any means, but I’m happy that we are at an institution that makes sure people know that this is an open and inclusive space,” she said.

Unfortunately, the NATA doesn’t have a support or advocacy structure for athletic trainers who identify as LGBTQ or other underrepresented groups, but Indiana State’s Doctor of Athletic Training program provided a good foundation for getting such a mechanism off the ground.

“Dr. Eberman and Dr. (Kenneth) Games have created a solid, forward-thinking and progressive group that allows us to take ideas that we want to focus on and are passionate about and run with it,” Rogers said. “If you get complacent with advocacy then it will drop back down. You have to advocate for what you are passionate about and for the people who haven’t historically had a voice, you have to give them a voice; but if you don’t continue advocating, they could fall back.”

The reality, Eberman said, is that athletic training’s roots were in coaching and physical education, not in health care.

“But the cultural norms have not changed with the profession,” she said. “In today’s political culture, people are not one thing. To me, this research demonstrates that. They are not just student-athletes. They are not just LGBTQ. They are not just athletic trainers. Instead, they are a culmination of things and we need to do a better job of recognizing people’s many facets in health care and in athletics.”

Higher Education

Indiana State Student Working To Make Athletic Training Profession More Inclusive

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Article reposted from newswise
Author: Indiana State University

One could say it was a bit of a culture shock for Emma Nye when she moved from her home state of New York to Indiana in pursuit of a master’s degree in athletic training at Indiana State University.

Not long after her arrival in 2014, Nye, who is a student in the Doctor of Athletic Training program, was greeted by the state legislature’s passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Opponents of the law said it could be used to discriminate against individuals who identified as LGBT.

“I couldn’t really wrap my head around that type of discrimination,” said Nye, who is gay. “I went to the Capitol building in Indianapolis and protested, and I felt like my passion for advocacy turned into tangible action.”

Nye returned to campus determined to make Indiana State more inclusive of people from all genders, races, religions and sexual orientations. She approached the university’s diversity committee about boosting the campus’ Campus Pride Index, an LGBT national benchmarking tool for colleges and university to create safer, more inclusive campus communities.

“Indiana State is a 3.5 out of 5, so there is room for growth there,” Nye said. “We brainstormed ways to make the athletics department and athletic training department more inclusive for our athletes, our fans, and I’m excited about the research I’m conducting to see what the problem is and then how to fix it.”
Starting last summer, Nye and fellow doctorate of athletic training students Ashley Crossway and Sean Rogers began researching the perceptions of student-athletes who work with an athletic trainer who identifies as LGBT and perceptions of athletic trainers who work with student-athletes who identify as LGBT.

They are in the process of doing a pilot study with a survey tool consisting of question on care and quality of care as it relates to things such as gender, religion and sexual orientation. The survey will be sent out this spring to all NCAA Division I, II and III athletic trainers and student-athletes.
“We really want to know if someone is working with an athletic trainer who identifies with the LGBTQ community, does that change the way you collaborate? Or if you, as an athletic trainer, are working with a student-athlete who identifies as LGBT does that change your quality of care or approach to athletic training, in general?” Nye said. “We’re hoping not to find a difference, but if we do, then we’ve figured out the problem and can move forward to find a solution because this an environment where people can come, no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity, race or religion, and you will get high quality patient care. We want to bridge a gap if there is one, and I think it will boil down to education.”

It’s not her first go-around with this topic. Two years ago, Nye wrote an article for the Journal of Contemporary Athletics about workplace discrimination and the importance of passing the Equality Act, an anti-discriminatory workplace act.

“The article focused on key things that not only organizations but also individuals can do to make the athletic training room more inclusive,” she said. “What it came down to was the importance of advocacy and having a voice in the community. Oftentimes we get frustrated with potential negative legislation, but we don’t take action. It’s about speaking up and giving a voice to those in the LGBT community who feel stuck and don’t know what to do.”
Nye, ’17, has a graduate assistantship with athletic training program, where she has received hands-on training as an athletic trainer for Sycamore volleyball and Terre Haute South High School and serves as a preceptor for the athletic training education program.

Her efforts also won her recognition as the 2016 recipient of the Indiana Athletic Trainers Association’s Diversity Award.

“I was impressed that the award went to a member of the LGBT community because sometimes when people think of diversity, they think of race and ethnicity, and there are so many types of diversity represented by the people in the athletic training membership. I was happy to be able to represent the LGBT athletic trainers,” Nye said.

Nye’s work inspired her nominator, Zachary Winkelmann, a Ph.D. student in the curriculum and instruction program who teaches in the athletic training program.

“Emma continues to break down cultural barriers in health care, including patient perceptions of working with a health care provider who is LGBTQ and explore new avenues to share her message through dissemination of peer-reviewed publications and continued cultural competence of differing populations,” said Winkelmann, who accepted the award in October on behalf of Nye, who was traveling with the volleyball team in Iowa.

It’s a profession Nye found her way to after not having access to an athletic trainer during high school.

“I would often treat myself and figure out how to deal with injuries I sustained,” she said. “Once I realized what an athletic trainer was and how helpful they are for the performance of an athlete, I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in athletic training.”

The two main outcomes of Indiana State’s program, education and advocacy, are perfectly aligned with Nye’s two biggest passions.

“It’s almost like the program helped me develop my passion to educate others and to advocate for certain populations, and I feel like I’ve made a difference in Indiana,” she said. “I’m glad I pursued this avenue, because the program’s not just about athletic training skills, but about being a better overall athletic trainer.”