Date of this Version
International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion (September 2008) 15(3): 167-170.
Racquetball is a popular, high-intensity competitive sport that requires quick reflexes and keen spatial awareness. Players may be vulnerable to eye injuries, which could be prevented through use of proper protective eyewear (Feigelman, Sugar, Jednock, Read, & Johnson, 1983). Given the low rates of goggle use among squash players (Eime, Owen, & Finch, 2004), the use of goggles among racquetball players is suspected to be low. However, to date there have been no studies investigating predictors of goggle use in racquetball players. Understanding the rates and predictors of goggle use among racquetball players is an important prerequisite to developing effective intervention programs. The present study explores: (a) the rate of goggle use in a sample of racquetball players from the Midwest US; (b) self-reported reasons for use/non-use, and; (c) the relationship between demographic variables, player characteristics, and behavioral variables and cognitive variables.
The majority of racquetball players in this study reported not using goggles and that they had never given much thought to doing so. Players who perceived their risk of injury to be low and the cost and comfort of goggles to be unacceptable were least likely to report using goggles. This suggests the need for increased awareness of injury risk and free access to comfortable, effective eyewear as a first step towards promoting goggle use. However, education rarely leads to significant behavior change in the absence of a broader ecological approach (Eime et al., 2004).
The present findings are consistent with Eime et al.’s (2004) Protective Eyewear Promotion (PEP) model. This model suggests that educating squash players regarding the need for appropriate eyewear, increasing the availability of eyewear, making specific recommendations for use, and offering incentives for eyewear adoption all help to promote behaviour change. A recent effectiveness study indicated that PEP was associated with increased use of goggles by squash players (Eime, Finch, Wolfe, & McCarty, 2005). Similar intervention studies among racquetball players are needed and would help inform efforts to reduce the incidence of racquetball-related eye injury.