Table 5

Themes, subcodes and exemplary quotes on communication

Main themeSubcodeExemplary quote
CommunicationConfidence and thrustPhysical therapist 02: “I think that it’s very important the confidence with the medical staff members because (the athletes) they would even call us if they feel something is wrong… and tell to the physio or the doctor of the team at that moment. You see that they have a lot of confidence. That’s cool. Of course.(…)Yeah, confidence is one of the most important things. And if the athlete doesn’t trust you, forget it.”
Athlete 05: “I think these people (health care providers), they know what they are doing, they have studied this, and they know best what to do and how to treat it.”
Manager 02: “We do have to have a relationship of full trust, and then only can they talk to us and let us know how they feel and how their body is and how they need to work on some things. Then I can talk about injury prevention. But if you don’t have this relationship of trust, they will not open, and they will close.”
How the Belgian context affects communicationMedical doctor: “In Belgium, everything is difficult because as you know the country is divided into two parts, the Flemish in the north they speak Dutch, the Wallonia in the south they speak French and also the east part they speak German. And everything is duplicated. We usually have one national federation, but two different leagues and these leagues organise follow-up of the athletes. And the leagues have the money for the medical follow-up of the athletes and the prevention for the athletes, and sometimes the north and south are different.(…)They have much more money in the north for sports than in the south.”
Manager 03: “It is very different because they have different budgets, different ministries. It is like two countries.”
Athlete 08: “In Belgium, there are two sides(…)I was on the Flemish side, but I changed, and now I am on the French-speaking side, and the structures are completely different.”
Athlete 04: “it is crazy, and the focus is completely different, and I feel like the French side is a lot more professional, but it depends on who you are asking. Some people like it, and some people don’t like it, I think that is the way it is, but when I was younger, on the Flemish side there wasn’t a lot of injury prevention or a lot of structure from the federation.”
Strength and conditioning coach: “I work with the French riders, but I don’t know the Dutch part because Belgium is a difficult country.(…)I don’t have contact with the national team. I just have contact with the French part of the federation.”
Coach’s role in injury preventionCoach 01: “My job is to feel them, to see the attitude(…)because then they have pain, they have no pain, maybe they are hurt, but they don’t want to say it because they are afraid, and I think that is the power of that job for the prevention of injuries.”
Physical therapist 01: “And to hear the coach and to follow the counsel, to follow what we say and not to do what they want only.”
Athlete 07: “So, I really think that you have the head coach who is always the boss, but next there should be a physio, a physical coach, a team who actually advises and I think for head coaches it is important to learn, to listen to these people.”