Management Practices of Injury Risk in Sports among Secondary Schools in Homa-Bay County, Kenya
Ndiege, John Kweri
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Sports risk management to a great extent focuses on the physical safety of all sports participants – athletes, coaches/teachers and spectators. Sports encompass a significant part of learning experiences for students in schools. Though sports bestow great health benefits on the participants, could also expose participants to risk of injury with short term or permanent consequences. For this reason, schools are duty-bound to identify potential risks within their sports concomitant with guidance to participants and coaches on how best to contain or manage the risks within an acceptable level. Sports associated risk management in school is crucial to reducing chances of injury. Responsibility for the successful completion of sporting events lies with the teachers and coaches to ensure safety for all participants– players/athletes, officials, spectators and supporting staff. Compared to the developed countries, there is paucity of empirical evidence-based information about the safety of students when participating in sport activities in Kenya, specifically in Homa Bay County. This study sought to assess risk management practices during secondary school sports in Suba. The objectives of the study were to evaluate facilities and equipment as predisposing factors for management risk during sports participation; to examine strategies employed by the coaches and captains in managing the risk of injury to students participating in sports; and to determine the risk management plans that public secondary schools have in place to protect the participants from injury during sports. The study adopted the analytical survey research design. Since the target population of 33 public secondary schools in Homabay County was very small, it used the G-power sampling technique. Data were collected using questionnaires and interview schedule. Based on the responses from the 91% (30) coaches constituting all the schools, the study revealed an evident lack of preparedness against risk of injury in schools. Most of the coaches. 91% (30) had no written injury risk management plans [70.6 % (36)] suggesting that because they lacked time to develop and implement them or there was no perceived need and insufficient budgetary allocations. All 91% (30) coaches agreed that most schools lacked adequate or appropriate sporting facilities. At the same time 69.0% (20) indicated that the sporting facilities were never inspected leaving them in very poor state. This exposed participant to several risks during training and competitions. At 65.5 % (19) majority of the schools coaches confirmed that they did not have physical barriers between spectators and players. At the same time, 58.9% (30) informed that playing fields lacked adequate care, thus exposing participants to accidents. Most playgrounds do not meet the recommended standard for sports activities. The finding of the study also revealed that sport facilities and equipment were in poor state; thus, unsuitable and exposed players to high risk of injuries during trainings and competitions. From these study findings, critical knowledge is a prerequisite in conducting a comprehensive injury risk management challenges in schools. Those involved in sports and physical education in schools, should receive comprehensive training in injury risk management and appropriate management of injuries when they occur. This calls for development of policies and guidelines due to knowledge diversity that exists amongst the coaches.