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In Treating Athletes, Is Trainer's Sex an Issue? Sometimes It Is

This is the VOA Special English Education Report, from | One job of an athletic trainer is to treat injured athletes. But does it make a difference if the trainer is male or female? Sometimes, yes , if an injury or condition is a "male problem" or a "female problem." Then athletes say they are more likely to want treatment by someone of their own sex. But what about a problem that could affect either sex, like a dislocated shoulder? Researchers at North Carolina State University asked male football players at two American colleges. The study found that those players would still probably choose a male trainer -- unless the injury made them feel depressed. Then they would most likely choose a female trainer. The researchers offer two possible explanations. They say football players might be seen as "weak" if they talk about their depression with a male trainer. Also, over half the players described female trainers with words like "caring," "nurturing" and "affectionate." The researchers say this shows that "gender stereotypes" have influenced the opinions of the players about women. They say the concern is that players might see the training room as not the place even for well-qualified women. The study, led by Heidi Grappendorf, is in the Journal of Athletic Training. Trainers are an important part of an athlete's life. But an organization based in California is working with coaches to help influence boys to show more respect toward girls and women. Feroz Moideen is director of the Coaching Boys into Men program of the Family Violence Prevention Fund. He says the nonprofit organization works with police, judges, teachers and coaches. He says the group used a million-and-a-half-dollar donation from the Nike Foundation to expand the program to cricket players in India. He said they used the power of cricket coaches to educate boys about healthy and respectful behavior toward women and girls. Written materials are also being provided to other countries through UNICEF, the United Nations children's and educational agency.Brian O'Connor of the Family Violence Prevention Fund says young men need guidelines in how to treat young women -- in person or online.He says problems include unwanted or excessive text messaging, or breaking into someone's Facebook account. He says this digital dating abuse has increased through technology.And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 15Jul2010)
Length: 03:50


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