Objectives: To examine the attitudes of players and coaches to the use of protective headgear, particularly with respect to the prevention of concussion.
Methods: A questionnaire designed to assess attitudes to headgear was administered to 63 players from four different Canadian teams, each representing a different level of play (high school, university, community club, national). In addition, coaches from all four levels were questioned about team policies and their personal opinions about the use of headgear to prevent concussion.
Results: Although the players tended to believe that the headgear could prevent concussion (62%), the coaches were less convinced (33%). Despite the players' belief that headgear offers protection against concussion, only a minority reported wearing headgear (27%) and few (24%) felt that its use should be made mandatory. Common reasons for not wearing headgear were “its use is not mandatory”, “it is uncomfortable”, and “it costs too much”.
Conclusion: Although most players in the study believe that rugby headgear may prevent concussion, only a minority reported wearing it. Coaches tended to be less convinced than the players that rugby headgear can prevent concussion.
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