Background: Dance is a rigorous art form and athletic activity accompanied by a high injury rate. The purpose of this study was to gather injury and healthcare availability information from university dancers to better understand dancers' access to professional medical attention and their satisfaction with the medical advice they receive.
Methods: An author-designed online questionnaire about dance-related injury (DRI), access to healthcare, and satisfaction with healthcare was distributed to dancers at 102 American post-secondary institutions in 2 states that offer programs in dance; 211 dancers completed the survey.
Results: 75% of dancers reported seeking healthcare advice from dance teachers. A majority (55%) who visited healthcare professionals for a DRI disclosed negative experiences; the top reasons stemmed from the professionals' not understanding dancers (70%), providing unhelpful advice (43%), or not spending enough time in the healthcare consultation (33%). Of dancers who reported positive experiences, they most commonly discovered the provider by word-of-mouth (89%) or through the provider's affiliation with their institution (41%).
Conclusion: Dancers tend to access healthcare when it is available to them but find the lack of relevant and applicable advice from healthcare practitioners the biggest contributors to their negative experience with the healthcare system. When confronted with DRIs, dancers tend to seek advice from their dance instructors. To ensure proper evaluation, instructors should refer dancers to licensed healthcare providers, and dance medicine practitioners should make themselves known to dancers through both formal and informal networks.