Rugby Coaches and Voice Use
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Objectives To determine the prevalence of voice disorders and voice symptoms (VSs) amongst rugby coaches (RCs), and gather information about the impact a voice disorder has on the individual, as well as establishing the level of voice education (VE) received by RCs, and their views with regards to the provision of VE as part of their coaching training. Study Design Prospective self-completion questionnaire design. Methods 18 individuals (15 males and 3 females) currently coaching rugby within the UK, with a coaching accreditation from either the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in England or the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in Wales completed an online self-completion questionnaire administered via an online platform. Results The prevalence of formal voice disorder diagnoses amongst RCs sampled was 17%. The prevalence of VSs whilst coaching rugby and immediately after coaching was high at 94% and 89% respectively. A sore throat whilst coaching rugby was the most experienced (83%); a partial voice loss was the most experienced immediately after coaching rugby (61%). 39% of participants reported a change to their voice since coaching rugby, and were subsequently concerned with regards to their voice. Only 11% of the sample had received any form of VE, and this was during referee training. 94% of respondents indicated they would like to receive VE, and that they feel the RFU/WRU should provide VE as a compulsory aspect of the rugby coaching process. Conclusions The results of this study indicate that VSs and voice disorders are significant occupational risk for RCs. Speech and Language therapists (SLTs) should adopt a proactive attitude and further explore the vocal requirements of this potentially at risk profession and develop a specific VE course to prevent the development of VSs and voice disorders amongst RCs.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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