Background. Team sport participation offers a range of valuable benefits to both mental and physical health; however there has been growing concern about the dangers of sport-related concussion, especially in contact sports such as rugby union. There have been several concussion prevention strategies adapted in rugby union, ranging from the development of protective wear, to rule adaptations and sport-specific education programs. However previous research has shown minimal consideration for the broader contextual factors that influence how rugby participants receive, interpret, and implement concussion prevention and management guidelines. Research aims/questions. The aim of this study was to examine how people with different roles in community rugby union prevent sport-related concussion; specifically, the extent to which different participants (e.g., players, coaches, parents, medics, and referees) understand how to prevent concussion, and what their roles and responsibilities are in doing so. Methods. Using a social-ecological systems perspective, this study asked participants open-ended questions via online survey about what their role-specific strategies and responsibilities were in preventing sport-related concussion. Participants were asked about both their perceived role-specific responsibilities as well as their actual behaviours and/or strategies. This data was then analysed thematically and coded into common themes and generated into frequency matrices. Research findings. This study demonstrated that over half of the key stakeholders in community rugby union (57%) were involved in preventing concussion, however between-role discrepancies in the perceived efficacy of prevention strategies were a recurrent concern. That is, there were respondents within each level of the system who considered concussion as an inevitable aspect of rugby participation. Future injury prevention interventions should consider how concussion prevention and management guidelines are disseminated within a rugby specific context, and how the relevance and value of the information is perceived and communicated between the roles in each level of the system.
2015 University Research Conference: Integrate, Innovate, Inspire, Sunshine Coast, Australia 13-16 July 2015