Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
American football sport-related injuries have negatively affected millions of high school students' quality of life. Although there are studies about types, conditions, and psychological effects of injuries, a gap remained in the literature that involved injury prevention from the head coach's perspective. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to fill this gap by exploring how head coaches perceive their role and responsibility in reducing sport-related injury occurrences. Sabatier and Weible's advocacy coalition, Diener and Dweck's achievement goal theory, and Fishbein and Ajzen's theory of reasoned action framed this study. The research questions focused on the lived experiences from high school American football head coaches that will advance effective policy to reduce sport-related injuries. Criterion sampling was used to select 12 head coaches who received the NFL High School Coach of the Year award. Semi structured interviews were analyzed and interpreted according to Moustakas' data analysis methods. Key findings revealed there is an absence of national sport health and safety policy and support for high school American football head coaches as principal contributors and advocates for advancing effective policy to reduce sport-related injury occurrences. Recommendations from the research participants include implementation of standard policies by all state athletic associations to adopt minimum coach qualifications, injury and emergency protocols, and the presence of an athletic trainer/medical personnel at all sport activities. The implications for social change target advancing national policy focused on coach training, development, and monitoring processes for all high schools throughout the United States to support making American football safer.