ORIGINAL RESEARCH AR TIC L E Open Access
It's Time to Start Changing the Game: A 12-
Week Workplace Team Sport Intervention
, Hilary McDermott, Rachel Grenfell-Essam and Fehmidah Munir
Background: A 12-week multi-team sport programme was provided to employees of a large services organisation
and conducted in workplaces. This programme was used to investigate the short-term effect of regular sports team
participation on individual employee and organisational health.
Methods: A large services organisation participated in this study. Two regional worksites of office workers were
assigned as the team sport (intervention) (n=28 participants) or control (n=20 participants) groups. The team
sport sessions were underpinned by psychological behaviour change theory and consisted of weekly 1-h team
sport sessions for 12 weeks. Measures of aerobic fitness, physical activity behaviour, group cohesion, interaction and
communication, psychological wellbeing, health, anthropometrics and workplace experiences were recorded pre-
and post-intervention. Data were analysed using a series of mixed ANOVAs.
Results: After 12 weeks significant improvements were observed in VO
max (+ 4.5 ± 5.8 ml/min kg, P < .002, η
182), interpersonal communication within teams (+ 3%, P < .042, η
= .087) and mean weekly physical activity
duration (+ 154.74′, P < .002, η
= .071) in the intervention group. A significant (P < .012, η
= .130) effect on body
composition was observed in the intervention group.
Conclusions: Participation in team sport may be an effective method to improve the aerobic fitness and physical
activity behaviour of employees, and promote interpersonal communication between colleagues. Individual health
outcomes and social interactions have the capacity to influence the health of the organisation. The extent of which
these findings are replicable across a scope of organisations should be examined objectively over the long term.
Keywords: Communication, Fitness, Health, Quasi-experimental, Wellbeing, Workplace health, Workplace
This manuscript presents the first attempt to
examine the efficacy of a workplace health
promotion programme using a variety of team
sports. This programme was the first of its kind
implemented in a Financial Times and London
Stock Exchange (FTSE 100) company and the first
underpinned by self-determination theory.
Past workplace team sport studies have examined
markers of health without validated measures. This
study tested the efficacy of workplace team sport
across individual, social group and organisational
This study provides support for the use of team
sport to promote individual, social group and
organisational health within a workplace setting.
The findings of this study provide evidence for
employers and occupational health teams
considering implementing team sport into their
Within Europe, almost half of working age adults are
failing to meet physical activity (PA) guidelines .
Modifiable inactive behaviours are associated with non-
* Correspondence: A.J.Brinkley@lboro.ac.uk
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, National Centre for Sport and
Exercise Medicine, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire
LE11 3TU, UK
© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Brinkley et al. Sports Medicine - Open (2017) 3:30