Efficacy of coach education in reducing injuries and head impact exposure in American youth football
Methods: We prospectively collected injuries and athlete-exposures (AE) in 2108 players between 5-15 years of age and IMPs in a sub-sample of 72 players between 9-15 years of age. Players were distributed among coach educated (CE [n=1404; 38 players]) and non-coach educated (NCE [n=704; 34 players]) leagues. Injuries and AE were recorded by athletic trainers, and IMP frequencies were recorded with accelerometers applied above the mastoid process during both practices and games. Injury rate ratios (IRR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) compared injury incidence and ANOVA was used to compare mean IMPs (a=0.05) between groups.
Results/Outcomes: There were 370 injuries and 71162 athlete-exposures documented. The CE practice injury rate was 76% less than that of NCE (IRR=0.24; 95%CI: 0.18, 0.32). The CE concussion rate was less but not statistically significant (IRR=0.66; 95%CI: 0.30, 1.42). The mean IMPs were 6.4(SD=1.9) and 8.9(SD=2.2) during CE and NCE practices, respectively. An average 2.5 (P < 0.001) less head impacts were recorded during each practice in the CE group, equating to an average 90 less IMPs during a 12-week season with 3 practices per week.
Conclusions: Coaching education is an effective strategy in reducing both injury incidence and IMP exposure in American youth football. Future research should examine this paradigm in other youth sports.
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Evaluate the efficacy of coaching education in reducing injury incidence and head impact exposure in youth football.
Keyword(s): Youth, Epidemiology
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in sports injury epidemiology for over a decade, serving as author and primary investigator on numerous manuscripts and grants, respectively. Past projects have examined sports injury in various populations, including high school and collegiate student-athletes, youth rec league participants, and the military.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
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