An investigation of coaches’ awareness of injury in elite adolescent rugby union in Northern Irish schools - A qualitative study

David Anderson, John Cathcart, Daniel Kerr, Isabel Moore, Mike Hislop, Iseult Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: To examine the decision-making processes employed by schools' Rugby coaches in the management of injured players and to explore the factors that influenced those decisions. A secondary objective was to gauge interest in an education focused toolkit for schools' Rugby coaches. Design: A qualitative study using one-to-one online interviews. Setting: Schools who compete in the Ulster Schools' Cup Rugby competition. Participants: Eleven Rugby union coaches from four post primary schools. Outcome measures: A thematic analysis approach was used to examine the factors that influence schools' Rugby coaches' decision-making processes in the management of injured players. Results: Findings suggest coaches are influenced in their decision making by four primary factors: their experience and learning, their relationships with other stakeholders, their knowledge and understanding of the roles and responsibilities of medical staff, healthcare and health fitness professionals, and resources available to them. Conclusions: Schools' Rugby coaches play a significant role in the supervision of injured adolescent Rugby players, often drawing from their playing and coaching experiences. Schools retain, or recommend the services, of healthcare professionals (HCPs) and health and fitness professionals (HFPs). The role of these healthcare and health and fitness professionals, along with their qualifications and experience is not fully understood by coaches. Coaches acknowledge that there is a need for further training and would welcome education initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of musculoskeletal injury in schoolboy Rugby players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
Early online date12 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ethical approval for this study was granted by the Research Ethics Committee of Ulster University. Participants gave informed consent to take part.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Injury awareness
  • Management of injury
  • Adolescent rugby union


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