Objective: To evaluate a sports safety-focused risk-management training programme.
Design: Controlled before and after test.
Setting: Four community soccer associations in Sydney, Australia.
Participants: 76 clubs (32 intervention, 44 control) at baseline, and 67 clubs (27 intervention, 40 control) at post-season and 12-month follow-ups.
Intervention: SafeClub, a sports safety-focused risk-management training programme (3×2 hour sessions) based on adult-learning principles and injury-prevention concepts and models.
Main outcome measures: Changes in mean policy, infrastructure and overall safety scores as measured using a modified version of the Sports Safety Audit Tool.
Results: There was no significant difference in the mean policy, infrastructure and overall safety scores of intervention and control clubs at baseline. Intervention clubs achieved higher post-season mean policy (11.9 intervention vs 7.5 controls), infrastructure (15.2 vs 10.3) and overall safety (27.0 vs 17.8) scores than did controls. These differences were greater at the 12-month follow-up: policy (16.4 vs 7.6); infrastructure (24.7 vs 10.7); and overall safety (41.1 vs 18.3). General linear modelling indicated that intervention clubs achieved statistically significantly higher policy (p<0.001), infrastructure (p<0.001) and overall safety (p<0.001) scores compared with control clubs at the post-season and 12-month follow-ups. There was also a significant linear interaction of time and group for all three scores: policy (p<0.001), infrastructure (p<0.001) and overall safety (p<0.001).
Conclusions: SafeClub effectively assisted community soccer clubs to improve their sports safety activities, particularly the foundations and processes for good risk-management practice, in a sustainable way.
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funding: SafeClub was developed and piloted with the assistance of the Safe Community Programs in NSW Small Projects Funding Scheme. This study was partly funded by the NSW Sporting Injuries Committee Research and Injury Prevention Scheme.
Competing interests: None declared..