Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2011-090073
  • Original articles

Identifying context-specific competencies required by community Australian Football sports trainers

  1. Caroline F Finch
  1. Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI), Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alex Donaldson, Room 315, Building 70, Clayton Campus, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia; alex.donaldson{at}
  1. Contributors Both authors contributed to the conception and design of the study, the analysis and interpretation of the data, drafting the article and revising it critically for important intellectual content. Both authors provided final approval of the version to be published.

  • Accepted 30 August 2011
  • Published Online First 6 October 2011


Background First-aid is a recommended injury prevention and risk management strategy in community sport; however, little is known about the sport-specific competencies required by first-aid providers.

Objective To achieve expert consensus on the competencies required by community Australian Football (community-AF) sports trainers.

Study design A three-round online Delphi process.

Setting Community-AF.

Participants 16 Australian sports first-aid and community-AF experts.

Outcome measures Rating of competencies as either ‘essential’, ‘expected’, ‘ideal’ or ‘not required’.

Results After Round 3, 47 of the 77 (61%) competencies were endorsed as ‘essential’ or ‘expected’ for a sports trainer to effectively perform the activities required to the standards expected at a community-AF club by ≥75% of experts. These competencies covered: the role of the sports trainer; the responsibilities of the sports trainer; emergency management; injury and illness assessment and immediate management; taping; and injury prevention and risk management. Four competencies (5%) were endorsed as ‘ideal’ or ‘not required’ by ≥85% of experts and were excluded from further consideration. The 26 competencies where consensus was not reached were retained as second-tier, optional competencies.

Conclusions Sports trainers are important members of on-field first-aid teams, providing support to both injured players and other sports medicine professionals. The competencies identified in this study provide the basis of a proposed two-tiered community-AF–specific sports trainer education structure that can be implemented by the peak sports body. This includes six mandatory modules, relating to the ‘required’ competencies, and a further six optional modules covering competencies on which consensus was not reached.


  • Funding This project was funded by a grant from the Australian Football League (AFL) Research Board. CFF was supported by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 565900). AD was funded by the AFL grant during the conduct phase and an NHMRC Project Grant (ID: 565907) during the write-up phase.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the University of Ballarat Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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