The purpose of the present study was to investigate the use of sand as an alternative surface for training, injury prevention and rehabilitation interventions in English professional football. A secondary aim was to explore the potential barriers to its implementation. All 92 teams from the male English professional football pyramid during the 2021-22 season were eligible to take part. A cross-sectional survey of the medical personnel (one per club) was conducted between June 2021 and December 2021 based on the RE-AIM framework. A total of 58 respondents (63% of all clubs) completed the survey. Only 18 (31%) of the clubs surveyed used sand-based interventions across the last 3 seasons. Respondents felt sand-based interventions would be effective at improving physiological gains (median 4, interquartile range [IQR] 4-5) and as part of injury prevention and rehabilitation strategies (4, IQR 3-4) but were indifferent in relation to its potential to improve sporting performance (3, IQR 3-4). Barriers to implementation of sand-based interventions within wider football were a lack of facilities, lack of awareness of its potential benefits, lack of high-quality evidence and the surface not being specific to the sport. Medical staff also did not perceive that coaches’ positively viewed sand interventions as a training or injury management strategy.
|Journal||Science and Medicine in Football|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 12 Sep 2022|