UNDERSTANDING ATHLETES' USE OF EXERCISE AND NON-EXERCISE BASED INJURY PREVENTION STRATEGIES

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Abstract

Background

The success of exercise-based injury prevention strategies is limited by poor compliance and adherence. However an understanding of the use and barriers to nutrition and psychological injury prevention strategies is not currently known. This information may prove useful in the multidisciplinary environment of elite sport.

Objective

The objective of this study was to understand the use of exercise, nutrition and psychology injury prevention strategies, identify barriers/facilitators to implementation and preferred methods of knowledge dissemination to athletes.

Design

An online survey was developed based upon theories of behaviour change and injury surveillance in multi-sport event guidelines.

Setting

Elite (International/National standard) athletes from a variety of sports.

Participants

Athletes were randomly recruited from (n=50).

Assessment of Risk Factors

Athletes completed a questionnaire assessing risk perceptions, prevention beliefs, injury prevention strategy use, injury location/type target, outcome expectancies, barriers/facilitators to injury strategy use and current/preferred channels of information dissemination.

Main Outcome Measurements

Exercise, nutrition and psychology injury prevention strategy use and barriers/facilitators to strategy use.

Results

Preliminary findings indicate athletes did not engage with any evidence-based multi-component injury prevention programmes but the majority of athletes reported using at least one exercise-based strategy (97% of athletes) and nutrition-based strategy (97%), but fewer athletes used at least one psychology-based strategy (75%). The most common barriers reported by athletes were a lack of relative advantage for exercise-based strategies and poor how-to-knowledge, principles-knowledge and trialability particularly for nutrition and psychology-based strategies. The most common facilitators were similar across all three injury prevention strategies. These were a performance benefit, injury prevention benefit, relevance, awareness-knowledge, and usefulness.

Conclusions

No athletes engaged with an evidence-based injury prevention program but many used at least one exercise, nutrition or psychology injury prevention strategy. Athletes reported experiencing few barriers to exercise-based strategies but poor how-to-knowledge, principles knowledge and trialability for non-exercise based strategies.

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