While sports medicine providers and researchers cite the efficacy of interventions to reduce the incidence of acute ankle injuries in basketball players, little is known regarding basketball coaches’ attitudes and barriers regarding the implementation of these interventions. The objective of this study was to determine high school basketball coaches’ attitudes and behaviors regarding the use of ankle braces and exercise programs to reduce ankle injuries.
This was a cross sectional self-report survey. An electronic survey developed for this study was sent to all (N = 788) basketball coaches at 396 Wisconsin high schools.
A total of n = 368 (47%) coaches completed the survey. Approximately one third (32%) of the coaches encouraged their players to use ankle braces. Eighty nine percent believed that ankle braces would decrease the risk of sustaining an ankle injury while 87% felt that braces would not increase the risk for other lower extremity injuries. Seventy five percent stated that they thought braces would not affect a player’s performance. Fifty three percent of the coaches indicated that they perform some type of exercise program to reduce ankle injuries. Coaches who did not utilize an injury prevention program stated that they did not have the expertise to implement this type of program (58%), have the time to utilize these programs (46%) or were not aware that these programs existed (43%).
Only one third of the coaches encouraged their players to use braces despite the fact that a large majority of coaches indicted ankle braces would be beneficial for their players. Nearly half of the coaches did not utilize an injury prevention program stating a lack awareness, time and expertise. Sports medicine providers need to work with coaches to develop strategies to overcome barriers and implement strategies to reduce the incidence of acute ankle injuries.