A pilot study of the attitudes of Australian Rules footballers towards protective headgear

J Sci Med Sport. 2003 Dec;6(4):505-11. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(03)80275-x.


Despite a relatively high risk of injury to participants of Australian Rules football, very few players report wearing protective equipment. The aim of this paper is to describe the results of a pilot survey of the attitudes of community-level Australian Rules football players towards protective headgear and the risk of head injury. Seventy players from four purposefully chosen clubs in metropolitan Melbourne completed a self-report questionnaire at the end of the 2000-playing season. Almost all players (91.4%) reported they did not wear protective headgear during the 2000 season. Non-headgear users said that headgear was too uncomfortable (47.4%) and they didn't like it (42.1%). However, 80.0% of non-users said they would wear it if it prevented injury. The major motivation for wearing headgear was to prevent injury. Players considered rugby, boxing and driving a car, to be associated with a higher-risk of head injury than Australian Rules football. As a group, the players perceived the risk of head injury in Australian Rules football to be low to moderate when compared to other sports and activities. This partially explains why so few players wore protective headgear. Repeat surveys on a larger sample should be conducted to further understand the attitudes towards protective headgear and perceptions of risk in community-level Australian football players.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control
  • Football / statistics & numerical data*
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sports Equipment / statistics & numerical data*