Returning injured athletes to competition: a role and ethical dilemma

Can J Sport Sci. 1992 Mar;17(1):34-40.


This study investigated the extent to which decisions by coaches and athletic trainers concerning the return of injured athletes to competition were influenced by the player's status and the game situation. Samples were drawn from Oregon high school and Canadian university basketball teams. Coaches and athletic trainers completed a questionnaire in which they decided whether an injured player should be returned to competition. The scenarios included winning, losing, or close games and involved a starter, first substitute, or bench player. Chi-square analyses revealed that coaches made decisions based on both a player's status and the game situation. In contrast, athletic trainers' decisions were not significantly influenced by these variables. Since the role of the coach seemingly makes it difficult to make health related decisions concerning injured players, athletic trainers should be responsible for such decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries*
  • Basketball
  • Ethics, Professional*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oregon
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Role*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires