Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2008


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Rodney Hopson

Committee Member

Helen C. Sobehart

Committee Member

Paula Turocy

Committee Member

Peter Miller


athletic training, athletic training students, Black feminist theory, Black women, mentoring, qualitative study


Black women are dramatically underrepresented in the profession of athletic training. Failure to introduce Black women and their perspective to the profession and the literature may result in their continued exclusion. It may be theorized that one of the reasons more Black female students are not entering into the study of athletic training and matriculating through to the point of graduation and credentialing is that they do not have adequate mentors to successfully guide them. The purpose of this dissertation study was to examine the perceived effects of mentoring and other factors on the retention and credentialing of Black women athletic trainers in order to understand the impact of those factors on the academic success of Black women athletic training students (ATSs) enrolled in athletic training education programs.

The theoretical framework utilized in this dissertation was a Black Feminist Theory, which recognizes and honors the unique perspective of Black women who are simultaneously situated in U.S. society at the intersection of race, gender and class. This dissertation was a qualitative study that utilized semi-structured, open-ended questions during interviews conducted with ten participants who were Black, female, certified athletic trainers. Follow-up case studies were conducted with three of the participants. Qualitative data was triangulated with a personal data survey. Data analysis was achieved through cyclical and constant comparative analysis. Thick description, member checks, and triangulation were used to ensure verification of the results.

The findings revealed that (1) racism, sexism and classism persist as barriers to success, (2) mentoring promotes matriculation and successful college completion and credentialing of Black women ATSs, (3) mentoring also protects Black women ATSs against racism, sexism and classism, (4) although shared race and gender are favorable mentor characteristics, accessible and approachable mentors are more essential traits, and (5) several characteristics inherent to athletic training education contribute to successful college completion and credentialing of Black women ATSs. These findings have many implications that potentially offer athletic training educators ideas that may improve the athletic training educational experiences of Black women ATSs and lead to their increased participation in the athletic training profession.