Background: Physical activity (PA) and sport are suggested as a non-stigmatizing approaches to address long-term problems following moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can positively influence community integration, mood, and quality of life. However, promoting PA and sport participation for people with TBI is challenging due to long-term sequelae associated with their injuries. Consequently, PA and sport programs must be appropriately designed. This project aims to pursue the co-creation of a community-based PA and sport program for persons with TBI and stems from a pilot program that began in January 2017 in collaboration with multiple organizational partners. The program consists of three phases (i.e., learning how to train safely, independently and for a triathlon event). Four individuals with TBI from the pilot program are currently peer mentors and share their perspectives, motivate new members and assist with the development of the project as key stakeholders. To facilitate the implementation, evaluation and sustainability of the program, formal procedures and toolkits must be co-created with researchers and stakeholders to ensure the content is tailored to the program users’ needs.
Objectives: 1) explore the impact of the current program on mentors, participants, and administration to inform the creation process of the new program; 2) co-construct the program’s logic model while identifying strategies to ensure program sustainability with the community fitness center; 3) co-create a set of clearly-defined protocols for the new peer mentor program.
Design: An embedded mixed-method design will be used in which supplemental qualitative data will be collected to enhance the development of the program protocol. This design incorporates participant perceptions and experiences of the program before, during and after primary measures are administered to support aspects of the overall application and evaluation of the program.
Participants: A heterogeneous convenience sample of 20 community-dwelling, adult participants (4 peer mentors, 16 active participants) with severe TBI in Eastern Canada have been purposely recruited based on their suitability for the program.
Methods: In line with the participatory action research approach, there will be equitable collaboration among organizational representatives (n=3), a team of multidisciplinary researchers (n=5) and community members (mentors, n=4) in every aspect of the research process. Through an iterative process, regular scheduled sessions will take place with working group teams to clearly inform a logic model describing the necessary inputs, key components, and expected outputs of the program to facilitate the development of the program’s protocols.
Significance: This presentation will share the process of co-creating a study protocol for this innovative community based research program with multiple stakeholders. The results will further our understanding about the factors that promote PA and sport participation for adults with moderate to severe TBI and make recommendations about working with this community.