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2021-Staying safe while staying together the COVID‐19 paradox for participants.pdf (362.4 kB)

The COVID-19 paradox for participants returning to community-based sport in Victoria, Australia

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Objective: To identify the challenges adult community sport participants anticipate when returning to sport in Victoria, Australia, post a COVID-19 shutdown. Methods: Using online concept mapping, participants brainstormed challenges to returning to community sport, sorted them into groups and rated them for impact and ability/capacity to overcome. Analysis included multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis. Results: Forty-five community sport participants representing 24 sports identified 69 unique challenges to returning to sport. Eight clusters/questions participants need answered emerged from the sorting data (mean cluster impact and ability/capacity rating out of 5): Will we have enough participants? (3.32, 2.89); How do we stay safe? (3.31, 3.35); How will our sport change? (3.17, 2.85); How can we stay together? (3.15, 3.01); Will I be physically ready? (3.15, 3.05); What about the money? (2.86, 2.53); What about me? (2.65, 3.13); and What about the facilities? (2.49, 2.45). Conclusions: Participants perceived paradoxical challenges to returning to sport after COVID-19 shutdown, which revolved around staying safe, staying connected and accessing meaningful sport activities. Implications for public health: Sport organisations and public health practitioners should address the participant-centred challenges identified in this study to maximise the public health benefits of participants returning to community sport.


Publication Date



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.






8p. (p.608 -615)





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© 2021 The Authors This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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