A targeted marketing approach aids the implementation of injury prevention programmes

Our latest publication involves the determination in the change of knowledge of coaches and players about the Safe Six injury prevention programme in South African Rugby. We hoped that the knowledge would increase following a ‘targeted marketing approach’ that drew attention to the programme.

Rugby has a high injury incidence and therefore BokSmart introduced the Safe Six injury prevention programme in 2014. In 2015, BokSmart used a ‘targeted marketing approach’ to increase the awareness and knowledge of the Safe Six. We studied the effectiveness of this approach in an ecological cross-sectional questionnaire study.

Questionnaires were completed by 4,502 players and coaches who attended any of the four youth week rugby tournaments during 2014–2016. Logistic regression (adjusted OR, 95% CI) was performed in comparison to the year prior to the targeted marketing approach, separately for coaches and players, for changes in awareness and knowledge.

The awareness of the Safe Six increased significantly for players in 2015 (1.74 times; 95% CI 1.49 to 2.04) and in 2016 (1.54 times; 95% CI 1.29 to 1.84). Similarly for coaches, there was a 3.55 times (95% CI 1.23 to 9.99) increase in 2015 and a 10.11 times (95% CI 2.43 to 42.08) increase in 2016 compared to 2014. Furthermore, a player was significantly more likely to be aware of the Safe Six if his coach was aware of the programme (p<0.05).

(A) Players’ who claimed to use the exercises, these are their responses to the question “Why did you use the BokSmart Safe Six exercises?” (participants could tick multiple options). (B) Coaches’ who claimed to use the exercises, these are their responses to the question “Why did you use the BokSmart Safe Six exercises?” (participants could tick multiple options). 

(A) Players’ who claimed to use the exercises, these are their responses to the question “Why did you use the BokSmart Safe Six exercises?” (participants could tick multiple options). (B) Coaches’ who claimed to use the exercises, these are their responses to the question “Why did you use the BokSmart Safe Six exercises?” (participants could tick multiple options). 

From these results we concluded that the knowledge and awareness of the BokSmart Safe Six of both players and coaches increased in 2015 and 2016 since the launch of the programme. Coaches, the Unions/the South African Rugby Union and social media were the largest contributors to knowledge in coaches and players. While the ‘targeted marketing approach’ was associated with an increase in awareness, future studies should determine if this translates into behavioural change. 

Strengths and Limitations

  • This study is novel as it looks at what sources South African coaches and players received their BokSmart injury prevention information from.

  • The findings could help BokSmart and other nationwide injury prevention programmes target audiences more effectively.

  • The number of repeat participants completing the survey in consecutive years is unknown and assumed to be minimal.

  • The results are self-reported and not observed behaviour and should be interpreted with caution. 

The full paper can be accessed here (open access)

Sewry N, Verhagen E, Lambert M, et al. Players“ and coaches” knowledge and awareness of the BokSmart Safe Six injury prevention programme: an ecological cross-sectional questionnaire study. BMJ Open 2017;7:e018575.