User perception and acceptance of softshell headgear amongst youth rugby players

Main Article Content

Annette Gail Heward-Swale
Natalia Kabaliuk
Nicole Spriggs
Stefan Henley
Michael Hamlin
Nick Draper


This study investigated the attitudes, preferences, motivations and acceptance of softshell headgear among youth rugby players. Female and male rugby players (ages 13-17) were surveyed regarding headgear use during training and matches, discontinuation reasons, preferred brands, motivations for use, and reasons for non-use. We assessed confidence without headgear, head injuries, familiarity with specifications, and awareness of benefits/risks. Most (86%) didn't wear headgear during training; 74.4% abstained in matches. Reasons for discontinuation included discomfort and perceived ineffectiveness. Parental advice (78%) and injury protection (52%) drove headgear use. Non-use reasons: lack of ventilation (67%), bulkiness (50%), discomfort (44%), non-compulsory use (36%), and lack of consideration (36%). 44.2% believed headgear protects against head injuries; 30.2% were unsure. The results of this study indicate a range of attitudes among youth rugby players towards the use of headgear. Understanding their motivations and concerns is crucial for improving player safety. While some players see headgear as a valuable protective measure, others are deterred by factors such as discomfort and lack of ventilation. There is a need for greater awareness and education about headgear benefits and risks among rugby players, potential modifications to headgear design to enhance comfort and ventilation should be explored and further research conducted to explore the benefits that headgear has for head impact protection.

Article Details

How to Cite
Heward-Swale, A. G., Kabaliuk, N., Spriggs, N., Henley, S., Hamlin, M., & Draper, N. (2024). User perception and acceptance of softshell headgear amongst youth rugby players. Scientific Journal of Sport and Performance, 3(2), 270–281.
Sport and Physical Activity Psychology
Author Biographies

Annette Gail Heward-Swale, University of Canterbury

Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Natalia Kabaliuk, University of Canterbury

Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Nicole Spriggs, Lincoln University

Department of Tourism Sport & Society.

Stefan Henley, University of Canterbury

School of Health Sciences. Faculty of Health.

Michael Hamlin, Lincoln University

Department of Tourism Sport & Society.

Nick Draper, University of Canterbury

School of Health Sciences. Faculty of Health.


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