Evidence Based Medicine in Athletic Training: Using Patient-Based Self- Reported Measures in Long-Term Rehabilitation

by Heather Hansman
Exercise Science
Faculty advisor: Abigail Tibbetts and Danelle Smith

In the last decade, evidence based medicine (EBM) has received a great deal of attention in the medical and allied health fields; there is no exception to its growing presence in the area of athletic training. In order for the athletic training field to advance and continue to provide care at the highest level, it is critical that clinicians incorporate evidence based medicine into their everyday practice. One way to incorporate EBM into the clinical athletic training setting is to use patient-based self-reported measures to assess patient’s progress during long-term rehabilitation protocols. As clinicians, athletic trainers commonly use various clinician-based measures to assess patient’s progression through a rehabilitative plan, such as range of motion and strength. These measures are potentially problematic because they fail to report the patient’s perspective on their progress. It is important that athletic trainers place a greater focus on the functional capacity that their patients are able to achieve during long-term rehabilitation. Furthermore, it is imperative to consider patients ability to function at a high level during various activities of daily living. Incorporating patient-based self-reported measures into long-term rehabilitation protocols will allow the athletic training clinicians to account for the patient’s insights and will uncover valuable information on their life beyond the athletic training room. Integrating evidence based medicine into the athletic training arena will reveal helpful information about patients’ functional limitations, ability to perform activities of daily living, and environmental and societal limitations.