Coach Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Sport Injury Prevention in Youth Basketball
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There is a large number of youth sport participants internationally and in recent years, there has been an increasing concern regarding increased injuries. Specifically, basketball is a fast-growing youth sport in New Zealand (NZ) and players commonly experience significant musculoskeletal injuries. Coaches play a key role in facilitating injury prevention strategies to reduce the risk of injury in youth sport; however, this is likely influenced by their knowledge of, and attitude towards, injuries and injury prevention programmes. There is limited research in youth basketball and specifically in the NZ context investigating coach knowledge and attitudes towards injury. Therefore, the overall purpose of this dissertation was to investigate coach knowledge and attitudes towards sport injury prevention in youth basketball. A specific focus was coach knowledge and implementation of the SportSmart warm-up, a component of a nationwide injury prevention programme developed by NZ’s national insurer, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). A cross-sectional study was conducted in which 36 secondary school basketball coaches completed a survey including a series of closed and open-ended questions regarding their knowledge and attitudes towards sport injury prevention in NZ youth basketball. Coaches were less knowledgeable about common upper body injuries and associated risk factors than lower body injuries and common injury types. In particular, there was a lack of awareness that injuries to the head/face were common. Coaches had a positive attitude towards sport injury prevention, including the ACC SportSmart warm-up programme which most coaches were aware of. However, constraints of time and space are major barriers to coaches implementing the SportSmart warm-up or any other similar neuromuscular (NM) warm-up. Greater levels of knowledge and more positive attitudes were reported by coaches with more experience. Half of coaches reported witnessing coaches putting pressure on players to play when injured and 72% reported seeing injured players play on when they thought they should not have. Wanting to win, support the team, and not let the team/coach down were key reasons given for this behaviour. Although the sample size was small, these findings provide preliminary evidence as to the current state of coach knowledge and attitudes towards sport injury prevention in NZ youth basketball. Recommendations based on these findings include basketball organisations improving coach education about common basketball-related injuries and injury risk factors, such as dental injuries and mouthguard protection, and effective injury prevention-based resources. Additionally, coaches would benefit from a developed basketball-specific warm-up programme, and appropriate adjustments to game and training schedules/rules. This would likely allow teams to manage time, and utilise available venue space to perform a NM warm-up before games and at training sessions more effectively.