Objectives: Sporting bodies have developed guidelines for managing community-level players with suspected concussion in response to international consensus statements on concussion in sport. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that influence the intended use of concussion guidelines among community-level coaches and sports trainers from two popular football codes in Australia: Australian football and rugby league.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Methods: The survey, based on an extended theory of planned behaviour model, was completed by 183 Australian football coaches, 121 Australian football sports trainers, 171 rugby league coaches, and 142 rugby league sports trainers.
Results: Personal norms and self-efficacy were significant predictors of intention to use concussion guidelines, although the relationship between self-efficacy and intention was stronger among Australian football coaches than rugby league coaches. Analysis of the salient beliefs that underpin self-efficacy found that coaches, irrespective of football code, felt less familiar (χ(2)=25.70, p<0.001) and less experienced (χ(2)=31.56, p<0.001) than sports trainers in using the concussion guidelines. At the same time, Australian football personnel, irrespective of their team role, felt that they had insufficient time (χ(2)=8.04, p<0.01) and resources (χ(2)=12.31, p<0.001) to implement the concussion guidelines relative to rugby league personnel.
Conclusions: Programmes aimed at increasing the intended use of sport concussion guidelines should focus on enhancing self-efficacy and leveraging personal norms. Increasing coaches' familiarity and experience in using the concussion guidelines would also be warranted, as would finding ways to overcome the perceived time and resource constraints identified among Australian football personnel.
Keywords: Decision making; Football; Head injury; Self-efficacy; Sports injury prevention; Sports safety.
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