Objective To identify important considerations for the delivery of an exercise training intervention in a randomised controlled trial to maximise subsequent participation in that randomised controlled trial and intervention uptake.
Design A cross-sectional survey, with a theoretical basis derived from the Health Belief Model (HBM) and the Reach, Efficacy/Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework.
Participants 374 male senior Australian Football players, aged 17–38 years.
Main outcome measurements Beliefs about lower-limb injury causation/prevention, and the relative value of exercise training for performance and injury prevention. The data are interpreted within HBM constructs and implications for subsequent intervention implementation considered within the RE-AIM framework. Ordinal logistic regression compared belief scores across player characteristics.
Results 74.4% of players agreed that doing specific exercises during training would reduce their risk of lower-limb injury and would be willing to undertake them. However, 64.1% agreed that training should focus more on improving game performance than injury prevention. Younger players (both in terms of age and playing experience) generally had more positive views. Players were most supportive of kicking (98.9%) and ball-handling (97.0%) skills for performance and warm-up runs and cool-downs (both 91.5%) for injury prevention. Fewer than three-quarters of all players believed that balance (69.2%), landing (71.3%) or cutting/stepping (72.8) training had injury-prevention benefits.
Conclusions Delivery of future exercise training programmes for injury prevention aimed at these players should be implemented as part of routine football activities and integrated with those as standard practice, as a means of associating them with training benefits for this sport.
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Funding The data-collection phase of this study was funded by a University of New South Wales GoldStar Award. The analysis phase was supported by a nationally competitive research grant from the (Australian) National Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) (ID: 400937). CFF was supported by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 565900), and DT/PW by the NHMRC Project Grant.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the University of New South Wales Human Ethics Committee.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.