Bridging the gap between content and context

The aim of this study was to achieve expert consensus on the content of an exercise training program (known as FootyFirst) to prevent lower-limb injuries. Members of the Australian Football Leagues’ Medical Officers (n = 94), physiotherapists (n = 50), and Sports Science (n = 19) Associations were invited to participate through e-mail. Five people with more general expertise in sports-related lower-limb injury prevention were invited to participate as well. Fifty-five experts participated in at least 1 Delphi round. In round 1, consensus was achieved that the proposed warm-up (run through and dynamic stretches) and the exercises and progressions for hamstring strength and for balance, landing, and changing direction were appropriate to include in FootyFirst. There was also consensus in round 1 that FootyFirst should include progressions for hip/core strengtht. Consensus was reached in round 2 that the revised groin strength and hip strength exercises should be included in FootyFirst. Consensus was reached for the progression of the groin strength exercises in round 3.

The formal consensus development process has resulted in an evidence-informed, researcher-developed, exercise-based sports injury prevention program that has been endorsed by experts and is specific to the context of AF.