Could A Violence Prevention Program Also Prevent Sport-Related Injuries?

Sport-related injuries are an unfortunate consequence of engaging in sport and recreational activities. Although a variety of physical and psychological factors influence the risk for sport-related injuries, one specific component or facet of sport-related injuries that has received attention in the literature, particularly in youth sports, is injuries that result from illegal behavior or illegal contact on a sport field (Collins et al., 2008; Arthur-Banning et al., 2009; Fields et al., 2010). Despite this attention in the literature, sport injury prevention efforts related to illegal behavior are lacking. Therefore, a proposal is made to implement a school-based violence prevention program (Prothrow-Stith, 1987) as a way to directly reduce youth violence in general as well as youth sport violence and, as a result, possibly indirectly reduce the risk of sport-related injuries.

The Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents (VPCA; Prothrow-Stith, 1987) was created to address violence prevention in middle and high schools by teaching individuals that violence is preventable, informing youth and adolescents that anger is a normal part of life and that it can be expressed in healthy ways, instilling that controlling anger is a part of maturing as an individual, inculcating that there are positive, healthy, and pro-social ways to express anger, and outlining alternatives to violence through specific conflict resolution techniques. The VPCA curriculum involves 10, 50-minute classroom sessions that provide teacher-led didactic instructions, group discussions, small group activities, role playing of various conflict resolution scenarios, and multi-media presentations.

Given the lack of sport-specific prevention programs, particularly prevention programs that address illegal behavior on a sporting field, would a school-based violence prevention program be an effective way to address this problem in youth sports and, ultimately, address sport-related injuries? What are potential limitations of implementing a school-based violence prevention program with hopes of reducing both youth violence and illegal sport-related behavior?

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