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

Abstract

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.

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