Table 2

Major themes and subthemes arising from community Australian Football player views of the barriers and facilitators to following the guidelines (n=18)

Major themesSubthemes
Factors that would facilitate the use of the concussion guidelines
  • Having the use of the guidelines enforced by the local league

  • Having the league run an information session for all clubs at the beginning of the season

  • Clubs having a policy around using the guidelines and informing players

  • Promoting the guidelines through the media and elite players

  • Making hard copies of the guidelines available and visible to players and sports trainers

  • Further education and information about concussion for sports trainers

  • Having an impartial and medically trained person to decide whether a player is concussed or not

Factors that would impede the use of the concussion guidelines
  • Increased pressure on sports trainers/doctors to return players to play

  • Pressure from ‘traditional/old school’ coaches and sports trainers placed on other trainers and players to have players return to play

  • A close or important game

  • State of play (where the football is) at the time of the ‘knock’

  • Players wanting to play and to win at all costs

  • A concussion incident that appears less severe—a softer ‘knock’; player gets up quickly

  • Inconvenience and cost of, as well as general reluctance associated with, visiting a GP during the stepwise return to play phase

  • GPs being ill-informed about the guidelines

  • How trained are doctors in knowing or pinpointing [concussion]?

  • GP, general practitioner.