Tell us more about yourself and the author team
My name is Mary Catherine (“Molly”) Minnig and I am pursuing a PhD in epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (North Carolina, USA). My research interests are in injury epidemiology, ranging from community-level injury prevention strategies, sports medicine to topics in musculoskeletal imaging. This paper’s co-authors include experts from various related fields, including exercise science, rheumatology, athletic training, and orthopaedics. My co-authors are Lauren Hawkinson, Hayley Root, Jeffrey Driban, Lindsay DiStefano, Leigh Callahan, Kirsten Ambrose, Jeffrey Spang, and Yvonne Golightly.
What is the story behind your study?
There is a myriad of evidence in support of exercise programs as a tool to prevent injury. We know that efficacious programs include a combination of neuromuscular training, plyometric, balance, and stretching exercises. Despite the high effectiveness of these programs, implementation and usage rates remain quite low.
This narrative review investigates the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of evidence-based injury prevention programs. We first describe current literature on this topic and then provide suggestions directed towards researchers, clinicians, and administrators on ways to improve implementation rates and sustained use of these programs. We also propose that injury prevention exercise programs be translated into free mobile smartphone applications in order to increase ease of access and long-term use.
In your own words, what did you find?
We found that commonly reported barriers to injury prevention program implementation include the perceived time and financial burden, coaches lacking confidence in their knowledge to implement the program properly, and the complexity of the program’s exercises. On the other hand, common facilitators to implementation include coaches’ feeling knowledgeable of the program’s efficacy, high levels of motivation to complete the program from both coaches and athletes, and the program’s ease of integration into the usual practice schedule.
We propose future studies investigating evidence-based injury prevention programs to use implementation-specific frameworks to guide the assessment of implementation success and qualitative methods to better understand the attitudes and beliefs of key stakeholders.
What was the main challenge you faced in your study?
Studies on the implementation of injury prevention exercise programs are primarily based in high-resource communities within high-income countries. We noticed a significant gap in the literature investigating this topic globally in culturally and economically diverse settings.
If there is one take-home message from your study, what would that be?
We believe a few key factors will encourage broader and sustained implementation of evidence-based injury prevention exercise programs. Broadly, these elements should encourage ease of use, coach and athlete involvement, and require minimal time burden. Programs must be free of cost and easily implementable in various settings without additional resource requirements.