Table 2

Reasons for non-regular/no use of protective headgear

Higher order themes (% of responses)Example responses
Discomfort (36%)Feeling of being ‘enclosed’ and an irritant whilst playing due to chafing and sweating.
Haven’t found a comfortable scrum cap.
I used to wear it but found that I got too hot when playing in it.
I have a big head so it is tight.
Don’t require one (24%)I am a full back and do not require that level of head protection.
I’m a scrum half and don’t feel the need.
I don’t think my position on the wing requires one and I’m not used to wearing one.
Never felt the need for it, as it is not compulsory.
Restricted senses (23%)Disrupts hearing - feel like it impairs my cognitive functioning.
I think it hinders my vision and play more than it helps.
I am unable to hear the game, teammates and officials with headgear on.
I feel restricted when I wear it. I don’t like the feel of it in open play as I feel like I struggle to see wearing it.
They aren’t useful (11%)I’m not convinced it offers that much protection.
I have never seen any study that shows Scrum Hats are an effective measure to protect from concussion.
Doesn’t stop concussion. Only helps to stop cuts but I’ve been told hair does the same job.
Stigma (4%)I don’t think it looks good on me.
Perceived social perception of other players may see you as ‘soft’ for being a back and wearing headgear.
False sense of security (2%)Encourages reckless play with a feeling of invincibility.
I feel that the headgear doesn’t actually give much protection but when you are wearing it you feel safer so could potentially be more inclined to put yourself at more danger than is necessary.