Context Matters - Revisiting the First Step of the ‘Sequence of Prevention’ of Sports Injuries

We are proud of this one .. just popped up online today. It is possible to prevent sports injuries. Unfortunately, the demonstrated efficacy and effectiveness of injury prevention approaches are not translated into lasting real-world effects. Contemporary views in sports medicine and injury prevention suggest that sports injuries are ‘complex’ phenomena. If the problem we aim to prevent is complex, then the first step in the ‘sequence of prevention’ that defines the ‘injury problem’ already needs to have considered this. The purpose of this paper was to revisit the first step of the ‘sequence of prevention’, and to explore new perspectives that acknowledge the complexity of the sports injury problem. A better understanding of the injury problem in context will guide more context-sensitive studies, thus providing a new perspective for sports injury prevention research.

First, this paper provides a retrospective of the ‘sequence of prevention’, acknowledging contemporary views on sports injuries and their prevention. Thereafter, from the perspective of the socioecological model, we demonstrated the need for taking into account the complex nature of sports injuries in the first step. Finally, we propose an alternative approach to explore and understand injury context through qualitative research methods.

 In the past 25 years, the ‘sequence of prevention’ of sports injuries has been mostly applied to produce context-free evidence, i.e. describing the problem and following the steps in controlled environments that did not consider the context as part of the problem from the outset. Contemporary views demand the ‘sequence of prevention’ to be context-driven, which will provide a more comprehensive view of the injury problem and effective solutions

In the past 25 years, the ‘sequence of prevention’ of sports injuries has been mostly applied to produce context-free evidence, i.e. describing the problem and following the steps in controlled environments that did not consider the context as part of the problem from the outset. Contemporary views demand the ‘sequence of prevention’ to be context-driven, which will provide a more comprehensive view of the injury problem and effective solutions

Our key messages

  • Contemporary views in sports medicine highlight the complexity of sports injuries and their prevention.

  • The widely used ‘sequence of prevention’ needs to take the complexity into account, starting with the first step ‘describing sports injury problem’.

  • Introducing qualitative research approaches as a means to include complexity of the sport injuries in the problem description provides ways to more comprehensively understand the sports injury context.

The full paper can be accessed here (open access)

Bolling C, van Mechelen W, Pasman HR, et al. Context Matters: Revisiting the First Step of the “Sequence of Prevention” of Sports Injuries. Sports Med 2018;:1–8. doi:10.1007/s40279-018-0953-x