A descriptive prospective study of sports medicine practices for athletes in Uganda

  • Samuel K Lubega
  • Timothy Makubuya
  • Haruna Muwonge
  • Mike Lambert
Keywords: Injuries; medical; Uganda; emergency; intermediate; rehabilitation; return-to-sports.


Background: Many international sporting organizations have recommended practices to reduce the risk of injury. These practices include screening for injury, having appropriate emergency medical care, and protocols for managing injury before return-to-play. The extent of the uptake of these practices in a developing country such as Uganda, is unknown.

Methodology: Using a descriptive case study approach, this investigation focused on a sample of injured athletes (n = 75) in Uganda from four main sports associations (football, athletics, basketball and rugby). The data were collected through observations and interviews after the injury. Using a best medical practice framework the phases of emergency, intermediate, rehabilitative, and return-to-sports participation were described.

Result: Nine conditions/types of injury were included. The results revealed a lack of specific pre-season screening or re- turn-to-play readiness for all the injured athletes. Further, there was a lack of application of best practice principles for most of the injury types. For athletes who received medical care, the results show inconsistencies and inadequacies from the acute stage of the injury to return-to-sports participation.

Conclusion: This study identified barriers such as up-to-date knowledge among the sports resource providers; the gaps for appropriate and adequate specific facilities for managing injured athletes, and policies to mandate care of injured athletes. These barriers detract from applying best medical practices.

Keywords: Injuries; medical; Uganda; emergency; intermediate; rehabilitation; return-to-sports.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905