This study aimed to examine the effects of four situational factors on coaches’ decisions about an injured athlete’s participation in competition. A telephone survey was conducted among 64 coaches training female gymnasts of various competitive levels. Coaches were presented with hypothetical scenarios depicting situations in which an athlete suffered an ankle injury prior to competition. Injury severity, the gymnast’s age and ability level, and importance of the competition were systematically varied in a total of 16 scenarios. Using a multilinear polynomial model (Louvière. 1988), decision policies were calculated at the individual and aggregate levels. The aggregate level analysis showed a four-way interaction effect. Cluster analysis on individual policies revealed two groups, membership of which was associated with personal injury history. Results suggest that in their decision making, coaches are sensitive to the unique situational characteristics surrounding the injury and are influenced by their personal experiences with competing while injured.
Ineke Vergeer is now at the School of Health Sciences. University of Sunderland, Pasteur Building, Sunderland, SR2 3SD, England. John M. Hogg is with the Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2H9.