Safe and Healthy Para sport project (SHAPE): a study protocol of a complex intervention within Para sport

Elite Para athletes report a high incidence of sports injuries, illnesses and other health issues. Despite this, there are few prevention programmes in Para sport, and many of the existing prevention programmes are not adapted to Para athletes. To improve the success of preventive measures, it has been suggested that sports safety work should facilitate health promotion, including athlete health education. Therefore, the overarching aim of this project is to evaluate an accessible health promotion web platform as part of a complex intervention that aims to improve knowledge of athlete health in Para sport. In this protocol, the development, future implementation and evaluation of the intervention are described. To inform the implementation and use of such interventions, it is recommended to involve end users in the development and implementation process. Therefore, a participatory design process, including athletes and the sports organisation, was used to develop an accessible health promotion web platform. To evaluate this complex intervention, a process evaluation combining quantitative evaluation assessing causal pathways with qualitative methods assessing multifaceted pathways will be used. The primary outcomes are injury/illness incidence, athlete health parameters, health literacy and user behaviour. A cohort of elite Para athletes (n=150) from Sweden and South Africa will be invited to participate. This project will be the first that aims to improve athlete health in Para sport through pragmatic and accessible health promotion. It is a boundary-crossing project that will be conducted in a real-world sport setting, including athletes with different socioeconomic backgrounds.