DOI: 10.4085/1947-380x-22-051 ISSN:

Secondary School Athletic Trainers' Knowledge of Growth Spurts and Growth Measurement Methods

Kevin Biese, Madeline Winans, Grace Rudek, Mayrena I. Hernandez, Lisa Cadmus-Bertram, Susan J. Andreae, M. Alison Brooks, Timothy A. McGuine, David R. Bell
  • General Chemical Engineering


As youth sport participation grows, athletic trainers (ATs) continue to be important health care providers in managing growth-related injuries.


To examine secondary school ATs' reported knowledge on diagnosing and treating growth-related injuries and reported confidence for determining growth status and to report methods secondary school ATs use to determine patient growth status.




An online questionnaire was distributed to secondary school ATs in the United States. Data collection occurred in the summer of 2021 over a 6-week period.

Patients or Other Participants

A total of 430 secondary school ATs (highest degree earned: master's degree = 66%).

Main Outcome Measures

The questionnaire contained secondary school ATs' confidence in determining if an athlete was going through a growth spurt, level of knowledge on diagnosing and treating growth-related injuries, methods secondary school ATs use to determine growth status in their athletes, and demographics.


Most secondary school ATs believed that growth spurts affected sport-related injury risk (88%); however, only 37% of secondary school ATs were fairly or completely confident in their ability to determine if an athlete was going through a growth spurt. For those 37% of secondary school ATs, 89% of them used history or observation over time, but no formal method, for determining growth status of their patients. Patient self-assessed Tanner stages (32%) and clinical evaluation of Tanner stages (28%) were the next most used methods for assessing growth.


In accord with Domain I of athletic training, secondary school ATs could benefit from improved knowledge on how to measure and manage growth in their patient population. To aid education in this area, future researchers should focus on assessing barriers secondary school ATs face in implementing methods for measuring growth and exploring secondary school ATs' knowledge levels on risk management programs for youth athletes going through growth spurts.

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