Objective Helmet use in Dutch recreational skiers and snowboarders (DRSS) remains low. This study evaluated the effects of exposure to a nationwide intervention on relevant determinants of helmet use and helmet use in DRSS. Methods The intervention mapping protocol was used to develop an in-season intervention programme targeted at adult DRSS. A prospective single-cohort study was conducted to evaluate the impact of intervention exposure on determinants of helmet use (ie, knowledge about head injury risk and preventive measures, risk perception, attitudes to head injury risk and helmet use and intention to helmet use) and self-reported helmet use. A random sample of 363 DRSS from an existing panel participated in this study. Data were collected using online questionnaires before and immediately after the 2010/2011 intervention season. In a separate sample of 363 DRSS, intervention reach was assessed after the 2010/2011 season. Results Overall, no significant associations were found between intervention exposure and the determinants of helmet use. However, subgroup analyses revealed intervention effects on risk perception and knowledge in specific subpopulations. Intervention exposure had a significant, positive effect on helmet use in DRSS (β=0.23; 95% CI 0.017 to 0.44). Subgroup analyses revealed that this effect was found in: (1) skiers, (2) female DRSS, (3) young skiers and (4) intermediate skiers. Overall, intervention reach was 28.1%, with differences found between skiers and snowboarders. Conclusions Exposure to a nationwide intervention programme was associated with increased selfreported helmet use in DRSS. Differences were found in intervention effectiveness and reach between subpopulations. These differences must be taken into account when developing and evaluating future interventions.
Background Though rare, rugby union carries a risk for serious injuries such as acute spinal cord injuries (ASCI), which may result in permanent disability. Various studies have investigated injury mechanisms, prevention programmes and immediate medical management of these injuries. However, relatively scant attention has been placed on the player's experience of such an injury and the importance of context. Aim The aim of this study was to explore the injury experience and its related context, as perceived by the catastrophically injured player. Methods A qualitative approach was followed to explore the immediate, postevent injury experience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 48 (n=48) players who had sustained a rugby-related ASCI. Results Four themes were derived from the data. Participants described the context around the injury incident, which may be valuable to help understand the mechanism of injury and potentially minimise risk. Participants also described certain contributing factors to their injury, which included descriptions of foul play and aggression, unaccustomed playing positions, pressure to perform and unpreparedness. The physical experience included signs and symptoms of ASCI that is important to recognise by first aiders, fellow teammates, coaches and referees. Lastly, participants described the emotional experience which has implications for all ASCI first responders. Significance All rugby stakeholders, including players, first responders, coaches and referees, may gain valuable information from the experiences of players who have sustained these injuries. This information is also relevant for rugby safety initiatives in shaping education and awareness interventions.