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Occupational safety and concussion injury awareness of Irish professional and semi-professional footballers
2018-05-04, Buggy, Conor J., Coffey, Nicola, Lawless, Martin, Kelly, Seamus
In recent years, there has been a growth in research examining concussion and injury risk in football, with national football associations and leagues in countries such as the Netherlands and Italy undertaking much needed research. Studies of high-school, university-level and professional football players also now exist in the recent literature. However, the significance of parameters such as player age and professional occupational status remains unclear. Moreover, despite a growth in studies examining concussion-reporting rates and practices with professional rugby players in Ireland, studies examining the occupational risks associated with injury and concussion in particular amongst Irish semi-professional and professional footballers are lacking. Finally, research examining personal safety awareness and attitudes towards safety management amongst professional athletes has been limited. In response, the purpose of this study was to investigate safety awareness and concussion-reporting frequencies of a cohort of Irish professional footballers.
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Frequency of Self-Reported Concussion Amongst Professional and Semi-Professional Footballers in Ireland During the 2014 Season: a Cross-Sectional Study
2018-01-08, Coffey, Nicola, Lawless, Martin, Kelly, Seamus, Buggy, Conor J.
Background: This paper examines the occupational risk of concussion amongst professional and semi-professional footballers in Ireland during the 2014 League of Ireland season. As part of a broader nationally representative study examining occupational safety and health (OSH) awareness amongst professional footballers, this empirical quantitative study, utilising a convenience sample is the first and largest investigation of the frequency of, and attitudes towards, concussion and concussion reporting amongst Irish senior professional and semi-professional footballers. Methods: A census survey using an anonymous questionnaire was provided to available League of Ireland clubs between March and May 2015. Permission to access players was provided by the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland. This convenience sample was determined by club availability in relation to match fixtures. Participation by the footballers was voluntary. At the time, there were 250 professional and semi-professional players within the League available to participate. Results: A total of 149 footballers participated in the study. Sixty percent of the participants were employed on a semi-professional basis and the majority of all participants were aged between 18 and 30. 15.7% of the participants reported having received a concussion in the 2014 season with semi-professional players having a noticeably higher (though not significant) reporting rate. Analysis indicated that there was a significant association between playing position and concussion reporting with defenders having the greater odds of reporting a concussion than other playing positions. Professional and semi-professional footballers have a relatively equal risk of receiving a concussion. Conclusion: This research is the first major investigation of the self-reported frequency of, and attitudes towards, concussion amongst Irish senior professional and semi-professional footballers. The results have important implications for coaches, clinicians, parents, players and national governing bodies. Further research is needed to ascertain whether professional footballers perceive concussion as an occupational risk, and whether they appreciate that accepting such risks can have long-term implications for health.