Objective: To describe coaches' education in injury care and management and their club's access to medical care, to describe coaches' perceptions of how family physicians care for sports injuries, and to describe strategies used for overcoming perceived poor advice.
Design: A telephone survey using both closed and open-ended questions was conducted. Information was collected as background information to a larger study investigating coaches' decisions about allowing injured athletes to compete.
Setting: All 28 competitive gymnastics clubs in the province of Alberta. The clubs trained athletes for all competitive levels.
Participants: All 70 coaches registered with the Alberta Gymnastics Federation as working with female gymnasts were approached; 64 coaches were interviewed.
Main outcome measures: Injury education, access to medical care, perceptions of sports-injury treatment provided by family physicians, strategies employed for overcoming perceived poor advice.
Results: Education in injury care and management was varied, as was access to medical care. Direct access to sport-specific medical care was available at three of the five elite-level clubs, an arrangement stemming from dissatisfaction with the conventional health care system. At all competitive levels, most coaches were dissatisfied with the recommendations they received from family physicians. Various strategies were employed to acquire more suitable advice.
Conclusions: The results point to a need for improved communication between family physicians and coaches.