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Evaluating SafeClub: can risk management training improve the safety activities of community soccer clubs?


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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