Injury prevention knowledge, beliefs, and practices among women’s football teams in South Africa
Background: Numerous factors account for injury prevention or lack thereof in any team setting. With the increasing burden of injuries in women’s football, and limited human resources accessible in sub-Saharan Africa, it is important to investigate the ways in which standardised injury prevention practices can be achieved.
Objectives: The study aimed to evaluate injury prevention knowledge, beliefs, and practices in women’s football teams in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Football League in Gauteng Province, South Africa.
Methods: A cross-sectional self-administered survey was conducted among women’s football teams registered to participate in the USSA Football League in South Africa’s Gauteng Province.
Results: A total of 107 respondents participated in the study, which included both players (n=98; 92%) and their support staff (n=9; 9%). The median (interquartile range) age of the participants was 22 (20-25) years. In the population sampled, 36% of the participants perceived that they had adequate knowledge of injury prevention practices in football, while others felt they had limited knowledge of the basic injury prevention programmes (IPPs). The results also indicated that the injury prevention practices of coaches (93%) and their beliefs in this regard (70%) are sufficient for achieving the basic injury prevention goals. Most of the respondents (89%) indicated that a medical support system is important in attaining the goals of injury prevention.
Conclusion: Members of women’s teams in the USSA Football League have recognised limited knowledge about the basic IPPs, while they do employ some of the basic injury prevention practices in football. These practices could be influenced by the beliefs of the coaches and the players, and most of them believe that IPPs are important. It is essential as key stakeholders that coaches' and players' education and knowledge of injury prevention strategies should be considered as an integral part of the process to succeed. It should be strongly highlighted and implemented, thus augmenting the credibility, trust and compliance for IPPs in the sport.
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