Facilitators and barriers influencing the implementation of injury prevention strategies among clubs at the University of the Western Cape
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Introduction: The majority of University of the Western Cape coaches believe that in most sport codes, many female and male athletes get injured at least once a season. Consequently, occurrence of injuries signifies many set-backs in any team sports. University of the Western Cape sports injury intervention and rehabilitation strategies are relatively under-developed, and have not been systematically implemented, despite their proven effectiveness. However, due to intensive training, local and national league competitions, the number of injured athletes at University of the Western Cape has increased, and so delays of athletes’ recovery are caused. Thus, it is assumed that University of the Western Cape efforts may have lack of the necessary injury precautions on prevention and rehabilitation such as proactive injury treatment, paying special attention to the therapeutic process, including other necessary mechanisms. The current study has explored facilitating factors and some of the barriers on the implementation of injury prevention strategies, and determined the effectiveness of rehabilitation within University of the Western Cape sport teams in views of athletes, coaches, and medical staff. Methods: This study used a sequential exploratory design which entailed an initial phase of quantitative data collection and analysis, followed by a phase of qualitative data collection and analysis. This study used a close-ended survey and semi-structured interviews to identify the barriers and facilitators associated with the implementation of injury prevention strategies among sports clubs at the University of the Western Cape. Results: Data were collected on the general knowledge of players and team coaches about injury prevention as well as their sources of information regarding injury prevention. Football players were 49.5% while 15.8% were basketball players in this study. Cricket players were 10.9% while rugby players were 9.9%. Sources of players’ knowledge of injury prevention included doctor/physiotherapist, coaches and the media. Sources of coaches’ knowledge of injury prevention included doctor/physiotherapist, media and seminars. Most players and coaches agreed that there is a greater chance of sustaining an injury during a competitive match than during training. Players and coaches also agree that the risk of injury is reduced by wearing preferred protective clothing and thoroughly warming up and stretching prior to training or competition. Barriers to the implementation of an injury prevention strategy include not having enough time, being too tired after training, no advice given on such techniques, the notion that nobody else does it and lack of proper equipment. Facilitators of an injury prevention strategy include availability of medical staff (doctors and physiotherapists), players’ understanding of the coach’s instructions, and injury prevention facilities at University of the Western Cape, services accessibility and quality, injury discovery and follow-up, and injury prevention policy at University of the Western Cape. Conclusion: Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations were made: (i) Intervention directed at players and coaches in the form of health promotion programmes through education to increase their knowledge and support in implementation of all prevention strategies either in training or in competition; (ii) Governing bodies at University of the Western Cape should develop and disseminate written sports safety policies and guidelines and supervise clubs in their development programmes.