The Career Experiences of Female Registered Dietitians in NCAA Division I Athletic Departments

Authors

  • Robin Hardin University of Tennessee
  • Lauren Antle University of Tennessee
  • Lauren Beasley University of Tennessee

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17161/jis.v14i2.15007

Keywords:

registered dietician, NCAA, career experiences, holistic care

Abstract

The National Collegiate Athletic Association passed legislation in 2014 to allow for unlimited meals and snacks for college athletes. This policy change created a need for full-time registered dietitians (RDs) to ensure student-athletes are properly fueled and monitor their dietary habits. RDs are now considered to be a key member of the college athlete holistic care team, and this has created a unique professional niche for RDs. There is a lack of research exploring the experiences and challenges of this emerging profession in college athletic departments. Nine RDs working in NCAA Division I athletic departments participated in semi-structured interviews to examine their career experiences. Three themes were constructed from the data analysis: (a) professional transition; (b) nutritional education; and (c) (dis)respect. The respondents discussed their participation in sport or volunteer experience was what pushed them to pursue a career as a sports dietician. One of the primary functions of their position is to build trust with the student-athletes and provide them with nutritional education so they will develop healthy eating habits. The respondents also struggled with a lack of acceptance of the importance of their position on the interprofessional care team. Some had positive experiences with administrators, but most had negative experiences and a general lack of understanding of the professional expertise they had.

Author Biographies

Robin Hardin, University of Tennessee

Dr. Robin Hardin is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee.

Lauren Antle, University of Tennessee

Lauren Antle is a registered dietician and the associate director of sports nutirition at the University of Tennessee. 

Lauren Beasley, University of Tennessee

Lauren Beasely is a licensed master's social worker and a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesilogy, Recreation, & Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee.

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Published

2021-09-04

How to Cite

Hardin, R., Antle, L., & Beasley, L. (2021). The Career Experiences of Female Registered Dietitians in NCAA Division I Athletic Departments. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 14(2). https://doi.org/10.17161/jis.v14i2.15007