Autores: Carlos Mata, Catarina Pereira, Luís Carvalhinho

Sport Science School of Rio Maior – Polytechnic University of Santarém
Life Quality Research Centre

Nature Sports activities have a particular set of characteristics and sources of risk that are generally obvious, the consequences of these activities depending on the practitioner’s self-knowledge, technical skills and physical and psychological abilities, which should be used to mitigate the risk. However, the risk is known for its double meaning: on one hand there is the risk of accidents that are inherent to the variability of the environment and human reliability, on the other hand, risk works as a stimulus and source of strong emotions for individuals involved or attracted by nature sports (Mata & Carvalhinho, 2020; Mata et al., 2022). According to Haegeli and Pröbstl-Haider (2016), the benefits associated with risk-taking can be enormous on a personal and social level.

For Nature Sports activities to ensure an enriching and quality experience for practitioners, it becomes necessary to provide Nature Sports technicians with assessment tools to be used to preserve the safety and enable risk management (Silva, 2016).

Considering that no international or national Portuguese studies were found that used this type of instrument with checklist and risk matrix for risk assessment in Nature Sports, it is important and relevant to develop such instrument.

This study aims to develop and validate the checklist instrument and laughter assessment matrix (CMAR) in mountain sports, namely hiking, canyoning, and climbing. The development of the CMAR was carried out through document analysis, literature review, and expert consultation. The content validation of the CMAR was done using the Delphi technique, involving 10 experts (aged: 35-58 years, 42.30±7.70 years; experience in the area: 17.00 ± 6.8 years), and the construct validation using exploratory factor analysis, involving 548 technicians and practitioners of hiking (n182), canyoning (n:183), and climbing (n:183). The 1st CMAR version proved to be relevant, clear, and objective (ICCspecialists: 0.85-0.90), and included 51 items (risk factors) grouped into 3 dimensions. The final version of the CMAR included 36 items structured in 4 dimensions (human, materials and equipment, environmental, and safety and emergency), to be evaluated in a risk matrix of 5×5 points (probability x consequence), which leads up to a stratified risk level corresponding to a recommendation, action, and treatment (KMOmodel: 0.816; justified variance model: 56.4%). CMAR demonstrated good reliability and good to acceptable values for construct validation, enabling its use in risk analysis and management in mountain sports, such as hiking, canyoning, and climbing.

This contribution will be an aid tool for technicians, instructors, and monitors when preparing and developing activities, understanding decision-making, prioritizing actions, as well as managing the risks inherent in these sports practices. With the use of CMAR, all those involved will benefit from greater safety and comfort during the practice of sports. Bearing in mind the previous assumptions, it is our goal to provide Nature Sports professionals with tools for risk analysis and management, as well as broader and more sustained knowledge.

Keywords: Instrument validation, Risk assessment, Checklist, Risk matrix, Risk factors, Mountain sports.