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Athletic Trainer Interview Questions

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  1. How do you evaluate an athlete’s readiness to play in a game? See answer
  2. How do you conduct an assessment of an athlete’s injury during a game? See answer
  3. How do you educate athletes about the prevention of injuries? See answer
  4. Can you give me an example of how you coached an athlete to care for an athletic injury? See answer
  5. How would you share a difficult piece of information with an athlete, parent or coach? See answer
  6. How would you motivate an athlete who was discouraged about being unable to successfully complete a training activity and did not want to continue the session? See answer
  7. What process do you use to get to know a new athlete and build a trusting relationship with your patients?
  8. How would you deal with an athlete who was over-training and putting themselves at risk through excessive exercise?
  9. Are you familiar with using support tape to stabilize an athlete’s joints after a dislocation or overextension?
  10. What would you do if an injured patient started playing their sport again before you gave them clearance to return?
  11. Describe your process for maintaining updated files and reports on each of your patients.
  12. Athletic trainers have to communicate with patients and coaches about the time frame for recovering from an injury. How do you estimate how long it will take to complete a rehabilitation treatment program?
  13. What do you think are the most important behaviors that athletes can carry out to prevent injuries while playing their sport?
  14. Do you know how to discern between a sprain and a break by visually inspecting the injured area?
  15. Have you ever performed a nutritional analysis for a patient? How did it impact your care or prevention plan?
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6 Athletic Trainer Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How do you evaluate an athlete’s readiness to play in a game?

A:

Athletic trainers need to be consistent in how they evaluate player skills and mental readiness for a game or event. This question asks which type of training or readiness scale they use in order to objectively determine a player’s mental preparedness, health and fitness. It gives you an idea of how experienced the trainer is with the evaluation of team members who have had an injury. What to look for:

  • Knowledge of readiness scales
  • Understanding of objective measurements
  • Experience in determining mental preparedness for athletes

Example:

“I use the Noyes and Marx adult activity scales to evaluate physical readiness for a game or sporting event participation.”

Q:

How do you conduct an assessment of an athlete’s injury during a game?

A:

This is an important question because it shows whether or not the candidate ability to put the athlete’s interests first. It also shows whether the candidate is observant of the athletes during a practice or game. Look for answers that reflect an action plan for medical assessment and a way to get the athlete to a place that can provide a diagnosis. Look for:

  • Focus on the best interests of the athlete
  • Quality of their plan for emergency situations
  • Knowledge of on-site triage

Example:

“First, I would determine if the player is conscious, apply first aid if necessary, and determine the severity of the injury. If it’s something I’m not equipped to handle, I would be sure to bring in emergency services.”

Q:

How do you educate athletes about the prevention of injuries?

A:

Injury prevention is an essential part of what an athletic trainer does. The trainer’s job is to demonstrate safe and effective ways of moving and preparing for intense physical activity. This question also demonstrates the athletic trainer’s ability to effectively communicate with all athletes. Things to look for:

  • Ability to communicate in plain language
  • Ability to communicate with all types of learners
  • Knowledge of injury-prevention techniques

Example:

“My athlete injury prevention plan includes demonstrations with a physical therapist. I also try to help my athletes avoid illness by teaching them how to live healthier lifestyles at home.”

Q:

Can you give me an example of how you coached an athlete to care for an athletic injury?

A:

Once a medical professional has diagnosed the injury and come up with a treatment plan, it’s important for the athlete to stick to it. An athletic trainer should help the athlete follow the treatment plan and propose exercises and physical therapy to regain strength later in the recovery process. Pay attention to the candidate’s views toward medical professionals and their plans, how knowledgeable they are about physical therapy, and how they kept their athlete on track.

  • Knowledge of different types of treatments
  • Comfort in communicating with medical professionals
  • Ability to adhere to a treatment plan

Example:

“I once had an athlete with a badly sprained ankle. The doctor instructed him to use crutches for two weeks and wear a brace. I made sure he wore his brace and actually used the crutches. Once he was healed enough, I had him start doing exercises to regain his range of motion every day for a few weeks.”

Q:

How would you share a difficult piece of information with an athlete, parent or coach?

A:

Sometimes, athletic trainers have to be the bearers of bad news, such as injuries that just won’t get better or that might end careers. During this answer, judge how the candidate would interact with a person to deliver such news. The athletic trainer’s ability to help people cope with bad news shows a sense of empathy and a commitment to the best interests of the athlete. Look for this:

  • Ability to calmly deliver bad news
  • Forthright communication
  • Ability to handle emotionally charged situations

Example:

“I prepare for the conversation and plan what to say so I choose my words carefully. I choose a time to focus on the person and avoid distractions, and I try to offer them support if they need it.”

Q:

How would you motivate an athlete who was discouraged about being unable to successfully complete a training activity and did not want to continue the session?

A:

Athletic trainers often serve a key role in a patient's physical therapy while conditioning their body to be able to safely play their sport again. They have to deal with not only the physical challenges of strength and flexibility training, but the mental challenges of overcoming physical limitations. Athletic trainers should be able to encourage their patients while honoring their limits. This question shows the interviewer the candidate's approach to interacting with patients and working through obstacles.

Good answers will have these traits in common:

  • Compassion for the patient
  • Focus on progress
  • Ability to compromise and adapt

Example:

"I understand that recovery can be a frustrating and psychologically taxing experience for athletes, especially if it is their first serious injury. I'd first acknowledge their frustration at not being able to do something that use to be simple for them so they knew that I was on their side. I'd try suggesting alternative activities we could use to make marginal progress, even if they weren't meeting that specific goal. Emphasizing the importance of trying and appreciating small successes is critical for boosting their morale enough to complete their recovery plan."

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