Qualitative Study on Adoption of Heads Up Tackling by Youth Football Coaches Open Access

Daramola, Alice Moji (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9019s264k?locale=en
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Abstract

Background: Football accounts for nearly half of all concussions that occur in organized sports in the United States. The majority of concussions in football result from front of the head or side of the head impacts. Injury prevention initiatives that reduce the frequency of helmet impacts have inherent consequences for the safety of the sport.

Purpose: Using the Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) framework, this study aimed to determine the perceived characteristics of Heads Up Tackling that contribute to adoption or non-adoption of the technique by youth football coaches, as well as understand how certified coaches have implemented the Heads Up Tackling training.

Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten youth football coaches to provide information on experiences with adoption and implementation of Heads Up Tackling. Interviews explored coaching style, perceived strengths and weaknesses of Heads Up Tackling, and injury prevention in football. Thematic analysis of the interviews was used to code and analyze the data.

Results: Adoption of Heads Up Tackling was found to be a two-step process; completing the certification course and teaching the tackling techniques to the players. Findings indicated that advantages over traditional methods, compatibility of the technique with coaches, observability of the technique and its benefits, complexity of certification and implementation, and the trialability of the program, contributed to adoption or non-adoption of the tackling program. Factors external to coaches were also found to contribute to the adoption decision process. Further, implementation strategies used by the certified coaches included: (1) teaching the Heads Up Tackling technique and drills, (2) applying the concussion protocols taught in the certification course, (3) reorganizing practice structure, and (4) instituting parent clinics.

Conclusion: Although coaches are considered the primary decision makers, there are multiple factors external to the coach that influence adoption and compliance with the tackling strategies advocated by the Heads Up Football program. Since Heads Up Tackling may have important implications for player safety, addressing the challenges to adoption and implementation are necessary to stimulate diffusion of the program moving forward. Findings indicate widespread implementation may require policy-level intervention.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION 1
Research Questions 7
CHAPTER II: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 8
Public Health Importance of Concussion8
Identification and Treatment of Sports-related Concussions 9
Return to Play Legislation 10
Mechanics of Concussion 11
Policy Interventions for Concussion Prevention 13
Diffusion of Innovations in Sports Literature 15
CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY17
Design 17
Participants 18
Measures 18
Procedure 19
Data Collection 22
Data Analysis 23
CHAPTER IV: RESULTS 24
Participants 24
Overview 24
Changing Context 25
Organizational Factors 28
Characteristics of the Innovation 34
Implementation of the Heads Up Program Elements 53
CHAPTER V: DISCUSSION 57
Adoption 57
Barriers to Adoption 60
Ecological context 63
Implementation 66
Limitations 68
Implications 70
Future Studies 73
REFERENCES 75
APPENDIX A: INTERVIEW GUIDE 80
APPENDIX B: CONSENT FORM 84
Table of Figures
Figure 1: Recruitment Process 22
Figure 2: Innovation-Decision Model 52
Figure 3: Ecological Framework 64
Figure 4: Implementation Drivers Framework 73

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