Get creative to foster injury prevention practices

We know that injury prevention programmes work well in a research setting – but not so well in the real world. This educational review from the BJSM has some insights from a nationwide rollout of the 11+ injury prevention programme.

This FastFact highlights an educational review from this month’s issue of the BJSM.1. While this article is not ‘original research’ it does illustrate some potentially practice changing material that could help with implementing injury prevention strategies in your community. Over the past five years the 11+ has been promoted across the four major sporting codes in New Zealand. During this time there have been useful, practical observations that have increased the uptake of this programme.

While the 11+ was developed for use in football it has been rebranded (in New Zealand) for use in three other sporting codes. To do this each sport was empowered to create their own ‘sports-specific’ variations of the programme. This allowed each sport to produce a product that their participants were more likely to use. This meant creating resources featuring athletes from their sport and including new exercises that deemed were more acceptable to their users. While this approach may not be strictly evidence based it did mean that compliance was substantially increased. Taking this sort of pragmatic approach is something we may need to consider when faced with players and coaches who don’t like some of the exercises or strategies you may want to introduce.

Another factor that enhanced the compliance of the programme involved recruiting both ‘athlete ambassadors’ and ‘medical ambassadors’. As you might expect promotion of the programme by high profile athletes definitely helped increase the profile of the programme among younger players. What might not have been so obvious however was the potential impact of the ‘medical ambassadors’. These doctor and physiotherapy experts resonated more with the medical (and in some cases coaching) workforce who were often the champions of the programme in a club setting.

Finally targeting coaches and players who were more likely to implement the programme proved to be a better use of resources. In the authors’ experience, younger or less experienced players and coaches were more likely to value and implement the programme than those that were more experienced. When trying to maximise your return (at a community level) this may be an important point to consider.

To learn more about injury prevention strategies, including the 11+, complete the injury prevention module.

References
1. Fulcher ML, Carlson I, Mitchell C, et al Development and implementation of the ACC SportSmart Warm-up programme: a nationwide sports injury prevention initiative in New Zealand Br J Sports Med 2018;52:1334-1338.

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