Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP)

Implementation of sports safety programs and interventions

Led by Prof Caroline Finch and Dr Alex Donaldson, with Dr Peta White and Dr Scott Talpey

NoGAPS Project

The National Guidance for Australian Football Partnerships and Safety (NoGAPS) project identified the factors that influence the translation of research evidence into sports injury prevention practice in community sport, using community Australian Football as the example. It is provides evidence for the effectiveness of an evidence-based lower limb injury prevention exercise-training program specifically for community Australian Football.

In addition to collecting effectiveness evidence, this NHMRC funded research partnership also directed significant research attention towards understanding: how sports safety policy is set, particularly at the community level; how consensus can be reached among sports safety experts in the community and sport governing body settings; and how evidence-based safety guidelines can best be developed, packaged and delivered to community sport.

The major outcome of the NoGAPS project is FootyFirst, an evidence-based exercise program to prevent lower limb injuries in community Australian Football.

To view a 12 minute presentation written by Professor Caroline Finch, and delivered by Dr Alex Donaldson at the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco March 2017, just click here.

To find out more about NoGAPS as a research project

Concussion in community sport

This research project was concerned with improving the awareness, understanding and management of concussion in community sport. The project was funded by the Victorian Government and involved a collaboration of Australian and international sports concussion and injury prevention researchers, two sports bodies (the Australian Football League [AFL] and the National Rugby League [NRL]) and Sports Medicine Australia. Prof Caroline Finch was supported by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 565900).

Specifically, this project aimed to:

  • Confirm the degree to which current community concussion guidelines are being accessed and used by the people involved in community Australian football and rugby league, including players, parents, coaches, sports trainers, and general practitioners.
  • Assess the level of knowledge and awareness of concussion guidelines, and the understanding of the concussion management messages they contain in the sports of Australian football and rugby league
  • Determine how the current AFL and NRL concussion guidelines and resources could be used to assist in the development of similar guidelines for other sports
  • Identify factors that make it easier and more difficult for community Australian football and rugby league to use the concussion guidelines and find ways to address these
  • Make recommendations for how social media could be used to get the concussion guidelines out to community sport
  • Report on whether the Victorian emergency department routine data collections could be used to monitor sports concussions at the population level.

To find out more about the Improving the awareness, understanding and management of concussion in community sport project, visit

The Preventing Australian Football Injuries through eXercise (PAFIX) project

Knee injuries are a major concern for Australian football players and coaches. Knee injuries create a financial and physical burden for injured payer. The Preventing Australian Football Injuries through eXercise (PAFIX) project was a large scale study designed to understand and prevent knee injuries in community Australian football. The PAFIX study involved following 18 community-level Australian football clubs in Western Australia and Victoria through an entire season. The PAFIX project was unique from other sports injury prevention studies, because a multi-level approach was used to understand the cause and prevention of knee injuries in community Australian football.

  1. Epidemiological component – injury surveillance (the counting of injuries) and monitoring of training/game exposures
  2. Biomechanical component – biomechanical, mobility and neuromuscular parameters assessed to the fundamental effect of training on these factors and injury risk.
  3. Behavioural component – evaluation of player and coach attitudes, knowledge, behaviours and compliance.
  4. Implementation component – Extensive research was focused on understanding the reasons why and why not an injury prevention exercise programme would be successful in a community football setting.

To find out more about the PAFIX project, visit

The AFIRM Project

Prof Caroline Finch is a chief investigator on an ARC Linkage Project which is undertaking research into understanding injury risk management in the Australian fitness industry. The project is led by Prof Patrick Keyzer from Bond University (Bond), and includes research partners from Bond, Federation University Australia and the University of South Australia. Industry partners are Fitness Australia and Sports Medicine Australia.

For further information

Recent publications

  • Twomey DM, Doyle TLA, Lloyd DG, Elliot BC, Finch CF. Challenges when implementing an evidence-based exercise injury prevention training program in community-level sport: A Case Study. Journal of Applied Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Science. 2015. 1:29-39
  • Kemp JL, Newton JD, White PE, Finch CF. Implementation of concussion guidelines in community Australian Football and Rugby League – the experiences and challenges faced by coaches and sports trainers. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. In press, corrected proof available online 22/04/15
  • Verhagen E, Voogt N, Bruinsmaa A, Finch CFF. A knowledge transfer scheme to bridge the gap between science and practice: an integration of existing research frameworks into a tool for practice. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014;48(8):698-701. Link to published item:
  • Finch CF, Doyle TA, Dempsey AR, Elliott BC, Twomey DM, White PE, Diamantopolou K, Young W, Lloyd DG. What do community football players think about different exercise-training programmes? Implications for the delivery of lower limb injury prevention programmes. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014;48(8):702-707. Link to published item:
  • Finch CFF, Diamontopolou K, Twomey DM, Doyle TLA, Lloyd DG, Young W, Elliott BC. The reach and adoption of a coach-led exercise training programme in community football. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014;48(8):718-723. Link to published item:
  • Hanson D, Allegrante JP, Sleet DA, Finch CFF. Research alone is not sufficient to prevent sports injury. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014;48(8):682-684.
  • Donaldson A, Newton J, McCrory P, White P, Makdissi M, Davis G, Finch CF. Translating guidelines for the diagnosis and management of sports-related concussion into practice. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. In press. Published online 19/06/2014 as doi: 10.1177/1559827614538751
  • Ekegren C, Gabbe B, Finch CF. Injury surveillance in community sport: can we obtain valid data from sports trainers? Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport. In press. Corrected proof published online 21 March 2014 as doi:10.1111/sms.12216.
  • Poulos RG, Donaldson A. Improving the diffusion of safety initiatives in community sport. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2015.18(2):39-144.