A great number of injuries occur in the context of recreational rugby games. It has been generally presumed that after a sports injury, the sports injury management programme is highly depend on compliance to sports physiotherapist recommended rehabilitation regime. Even the best treatment plan made by sports therapist specially designed for the patients could not guarantee that the patient would follow that treatment plan. Effectiveness of the specially designed treatment plan depends on the compliance of the patient. Compliance to the sports injury management program is generally less then hundred percent (Spetch and Kolt, 2001). Bassett (2003) found that 65% of athletes are either, following their rehabilitation program fully or partially and 10% of athletes did not follow their specially designed sports specific treatment plan at all.
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The England Rugby Injury & Training Audit, the world’s largest continuous injury study in professional rugby union, carried out by Kemp et al (2009) reported that the sixth season of the study recorded 769 match injuries from the Guinness Premiership, EDF Energy Cup and European competitions and 258 training injuries. Simon et al (2009) pointed out that the likelihood of sustaining a match injury increased in the 2008-9 season, reversing the downward trend that had been established since the 2002-3 season.
For an early return to sports, when amateur rugby players were injured, they need sports specific injury rehabilitation. Since the sports therapist is the first point of contact after the rugby player is injured on the pitch, they the sports therapist are, therefore in a sole position to analyse the player’s health status and to impact the sports specific injury treatment.
Sports therapy is a vibrant profession that entails a sports therapist to be proficient in a number of different specialities. Although, the sports therapist must be qualified and experienced to take full charge of the physical side of the sports injury treatment, for a sports therapist simply to know how to investigate, analyse and treat a sports injury is not an adequate enough to guarantee that an amateur rugby football player is able to be rehabilitated as swiftly and effectively as possible. An imperative feature of the sports physiotherapist responsibility is to approach concerns of adherence to the sports specific injury treatment, and to communicate effectively with the player to make sure that they endeavour the essential ability to speed up their rehabilitation. The sports therapist acknowledges the significance of psychological factors in sports specific injury management adherence (Board of Certification Role Delineation Study, 2004).
It is important that the therapist gets qualification and training in the psychological side of the players’ injury, although most accept that they did not get any sports psychological rehabilitation training (Roh & Perna, 2000). Nevertheless, identifying the variables that are significant in promoting adherence and incorporating approaches to deal with these factors is a complex matters. Shuer & Dietrich, (1997) argued that practitioners have investigated sports injuries from orthopaedic standpoint, but psychological treatment of amateur rugby players has not been fully addressed. Fisher, Mullins & Frye (1993) argued that literature, concentrating on sports specific injury treatment, could be divided into three distinctive categories; sports therapist communication with the player, sports specific injury management features and injured amateur rugby player’s characteristics. Researchers have found that the players’ responses and awareness have been affected by their psychological attributes. To be close to the sports therapy clinic enhance participation and a friendly atmosphere is favourable to the sports injury rehabilitation adherence (Fisher & Hoisington, 1993).
Prentice (1994) stated that amateur rugby players opinion of the sports therapist also influence the association between the player and the sports therapist and affect the sports injury adherence. Investigating the perspectives of this professional affiliation can improve the sports physiotherapist concepts of the amateur rugby players’ attitudes of, and contentment with, their sports therapist (Fisher & Hoisington, 1993). Unruh (1998) pointed out that if the rugby player is satisfied with the sports physiotherapist injury rehabilitation management, then he/she would have more self assurance in the sports therapist during the sports specific injury rehabilitation management program.
Fitzpatrick (1991) argued that patient contentment studies with their sports therapists supported the principal that if the rugby players’ are more satisfied with the sports therapist, the more they will trust him/her. Even though, the association between the sports therapist and rugby players’ is decisive, none of the research examined that how a sports therapist can formulate or constitute a connection to optimize their adherence.
Brook et al (2005) argued that in the last decade amateur rugby players got injured at a higher rate. Since a quick return, and continuation in performance, is directly related to the results of sports injuries, how an amateur rugby football player deals with it, then further research concerning the psychological side of players’ is ever more significant. However, the majority of literature that has focused on injury rehabilitation has concentrated on the musculoskeletal aspects and until recently has ignored the emotional feature that could potentially play a significant role for professional athletes. With some exceptions the psychological research to date has mainly concentrated on specific factors that influence an athlete’s rehabilitation, such as social support (Bianco, 2001), adherence (pizzari et al, 2002), self confidence (Magyr and Dua, 2000), coping and psychological skills.
Tracey (2003) has suggested that both primary and secondary appraisals fluctuate depending upon the personal and situational factors of each individual athlete. However, there are significant relationships between the primary and secondary appraisal and copying strategies. Shelly (1999, p. 306) called for further investigation into the unique perceptions and perspectives of injured athletes during rehabilitation as a means of adding depth to the research. The use of qualitative data collection on multiple occasions allows injured athletes to reflect on their experiences as they happen and to scrutinize changes over time (Podlog and Eklund, 2006).
Adherence has been defined as “an active, voluntary involvement of the patient in a mutually acceptable course of behaviour to produce a desired preventative or therapeutic effect. Adherence behaviour in sports injury rehabilitation may include clinic-based activities, modifying sports activities, taking medications, and completing home based activities. A number of sources, including surveys with sports medicine professionals, and research studies, suggested that low and non-adherence could be an issue in sports therapy practice.
In the last decade the primary focus of the studies, carried out by researchers, to investigate the sports injury rehabilitation was to identify predictors of adherence behaviour. Brewer (2004) argued that in order to draw conclusions about the most significant issues affecting adherence to sports specific injury rehabilitation, additional research is required. Qualitative research proposes a complementary approach to quantitative studies in understanding sports specific injury rehabilitation in amateur rugby football players. Qualitative research also outlines new factors for contemplation and provides further support to previous findings.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore amateur rugby football player’s experiences and perceptions of adhering to a sport injury rehabilitation program. In this study, the researcher used interviews to investigate their attitudes and contentment with their sports therapy rehabilitation. Qualitative research methodology focuses on individuals’ lived experiences as they are presented in thoughts, ideas, feelings, attitudes, and perceptions. Stake (1995) suggested that qualitative research gives a new approach to finding out more knowledge into the multifaceted association which took place during sports injury management.
This study would explore the status of research on the sport injury rehabilitation adherence. Studies identifying variables that are correlated with adherence would be synthesized to produce a body of knowledge that will aid in the explanation of individual behavioural responses towards injury rehabilitation programs. From this qualitative investigation, using thematic coding of the interview data, categories of variables influencing adherence would emerged. In this study, the researcher would analyse acquiescence among armature rugby football players during rehabilitation.
In order to improve amateur rugby football players adherence to the sports specific rehabilitation programme, strategies would be outlined for the sports physiotherapists. The predictors of sport injury rehabilitation adherence would be discussed, strategies to enhance rehabilitation adherence would be reported, and considerations for future research would be suggested. This study would provide valuable information that could be used by researchers and sports therapy practitioners to identify strategies that should enable sports therapists to structure an independent supportive atmosphere that would promote higher levels of self-regulation, enthusiasm, and strength of mind. This will help to improve adherence to the rehabilitation programmes.