Youth handball players are vulnerable to injuries. Because there is no available injury prevention training specifically developed for youth handball players targeting both upper and lower limbs or incorporating psychological aspects of injury, we undertook the ‘Implementing injury Prevention training ROutines in TEams and Clubs in youth Team handball (I-PROTECT)’ project. We used an ecological participatory design incorporating the perspectives of multiple stakeholders (health beneficiaries, programme deliverers and policy makers). The aim of this paper was to describe the process of developing the I-PROTECT model, featuring injury prevention training and an accompanying implementation strategy.
We used the generalisable six-step intervention development process, outlined to guide researchers when developing implementable, evidence-based sports injury prevention interventions, to develop the I-PROTECT model. The six-step process involves establishing a research–stakeholder collaborative partnership to (1) identify and synthesise research evidence and clinical experience; (2) consult with relevant experts; (3) engage end users to ensure their needs, capacity and values are considered; (4) test the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention; (5) evaluate the intervention against theory; and (6) obtain feedback from early implementers. Two community handball clubs in southern Sweden, offering organised training for youth male and female players, and the district handball federation, participate in the intervention development. Drafts of the I-PROTECT model will be developed and revised with key stakeholder advice and input throughout all six steps.
The I-PROTECT model described will be an end user-driven intervention, including evidence-based, theory-informed and context-specific injury prevention training for youth handball, and an associated implementation strategy.