Athlete health protection: Why qualitative research matters

3 July 2020
Femke van Nassau

Qualitative research is increasingly recognised as relevant and useful to uncovering and understanding new and differentiated insights that move both research and practice forward. The field of athlete health protection – that is, injury and illness prevention and management – is reliant on high-quality knowledge of athlete and other key stakeholders’ perspectives, understanding of the complex relations within the athlete health protection system, the socio-ecological context in which athletes are provided with prevention and care, and how best to influence those involved in athlete health protection for better and more effective outcomes. Yet, deep interrogation of these aspects is often overlooked in favour of quantitatively-driven research questions. As athlete health protection research and practice matures, we argue that there is a need for research that complements traditional approaches, connects researchers from different disciplines – but which also distinctly holds space for the unique insights that qualitative approaches can add. The purpose of this editorial is to highlight the importance, value, and relevance of qualitative research to the field of athlete health protection – in other words, why qualitative research matters.

Reference: Bekker S, Bolling C, H Ahmed O, Badenhorst M, Carmichael J, Fagher K, Hägglund M, Jacobsson J, John JM, Litzy K, H Mann R, D McKay C, Mumford S, Tabben M, Thiel A, Timpka T, Thurston J, Truong LK, Spörri J, van Nassau F, Verhagen EA. Athlete health protection: Why qualitative research matters. J Sci Med Sport. 2020 Jul 3:S1440-2440(20)30682-4.

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