Previous research has found that women face barriers in athletic training and it appears that they are not represented in leadership positions in numbers equal to the demographics of athletic training. The purpose of this research was to explore the leadership experiences and perspectives of female athletic trainers who have earned a leadership position at the highest levels in athletic training. This qualitative investigation utilized semi-structured, open-ended interviews with 12 women that held national leadership positions in athletic training. The data from this investigation suggests that many of the barriers that previously faced women in athletic training have decreased or disappeared. The participants highlighted the NATA and state associations as having an increased number of female leaders. While this study found this positive trend the data also revealed continued challenges for women in the athletic world, particularly professional and NCAA Division I sports, and work life balance, particularly for mothers. The data in this study also suggested that, contrary to previous research, women are motivated to become leaders in the field. The participants reported that their motivation to become a leader was influenced by a passion for the field, involvement in the field, relationships, and the opportunity to effect change in the profession.


Julie Carlson

Committee Member

Theresa Mackey

Committee Member

Kathi Tunheim

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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