Table 5

Main codes and related quotes on the theme ‘sports injury prevention can be a means, but performance is the main goal’

High performance culture ‘I think is a culture. In judo, people just train a lot and they don’t always take care of symptoms. If they are really tired, they just keep going. I think it is a little bit like this in every sport. It could be a lot better…’ Athlete 7
‘When you are an elite (athlete), you will have some small injuries all the time. That is just part of the game.’ Coach 2
‘Performance - that is what is important for an athlete. Not just winning, not the victory. It needs to be performance improvement.’ Physiotherapist 2
‘In the countries that are having good results in judo, it (injury prevention). is a reality. However in some countries where the sport is widespread and with many high-level athletes, there is a natural selection. Because they know that if they lose an athlete for an injury, they will have another with the same level to replace him/her. So, the prevention is done, but I do not know if it is as well made as in the countries that don’t have a huge amount of athletes. Then you have to work with what you have and protect and be cautious with all injuries.’ Coach3
Performance over injury prevention ‘The athlete cannot arrive tired at the training because he did preventive work. He cannot hamper the performance, because he is preventing injury: This does not exist!! You have to be on the same level. He has to be doing preventive work, but he has to be able to do his specific training. So prevention and performance have to be there, side by side. The whole time. If performance drops because prevention is too bad - there's something wrong here.’ Physiotherapist 2
‘The most difficult part is …often coaches don’t want athletes to do other stuff besides their own training. So you have to find a way where the coach think: “Ok, this something that athletes can do besides my training”. But it’s not allowed to have an influence in training or in the performance.’ Coach 1
Injury prevention needs to be adjusted based on the performance goals ‘I adapt. I think about what feels good for me. I think that is the important thing. Of course, if there is a weight training that is very hard and I have a competition, I will do less of that. I always take into account those things in the training or in the year schedule.’ Athlete 1
‘If have a really hard training week, I use less weight or I skip some exercises. So, it’s also about understanding and listening to your body. Next to that, we also have a periodization. We prioritise based on the races and based on the season schedule. There is no problem to work more in your strength and conditioning, but during the season, we have important races and we go up or down. For example, this week I had an important race, a qualifier for the European, so I skip the strength training, and only did some core exercises.’ Athlete 2
‘I always keep the periods short when I deliver the schedule to athletes because I know the schedule depends on how they feel. I take into consideration what the circumstances are, what they did before and what I didn’t expect to happen.’ Coach 1