Players', parents' and staffs' perceptions of injury prevention exercise programmes in youth rugby union

Publication Name

BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine


Background and aim Despite evidence of their efficacy, there is no widespread adoption of injury prevention exercise programmes (IPEPs) among young players and coaches in community rugby union. The purpose of this study was to (1) analyse the knowledge and perceptions of injury prevention and IPEPs among staff, parents and players in youth rugby union and (2) explore the facilitators and barriers to implementation of IPEPs. With this contextual information, tailored implementation strategies can be created. Methods Participants completed an online survey addressing knowledge and perceptions of injury risk, injury prevention practices and a rugby-specific IPEP. Community rugby union players aged 14-18 years, their parents and staff were invited to participate, including school-based and development squads competing at a national level. Results Surveys were completed by 18 staff members, 72 parents and 56 players. Staff, parents and players believe that the risk of injury in youth rugby union is high and that injury prevention is important. The perceived role in injury prevention and availability of allied health staff, particularly strength and conditioning coaches, was apparent in this sample. Reported barriers to completion of IPEPs related to time, resources, awareness of the programme and end-users' attitudes or motivations. Leadership, the use of role models and the structure and routine provided by an IPEP were considered facilitative. Conclusions These findings inform future implementation strategies for IPEPs in this setting, including the need to provide practical solutions, education and considering the role of allied health staff in facilitating such programmes.

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