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Translating research evidence into sustained improvements in population health outcomes is a current priority across many health research fields including sports medicine,1 injury prevention2 and physical activity promotion.3 Both the ‘traditional’ approach of publishing sports injury research findings in peer-reviewed journals and hoping for the best, and the more sophisticated approach of developing and disseminating consensus statements and related sport safety guidelines have been relatively unsuccessful to date.
The importance of taking a strategic and planned approach to the translation of evidence into practice has long been recognised in health promotion4 yet has received very little attention in sports medicine or injury prevention research, though BJSM is aiming to change this.1 The Intervention Mapping (IM) protocol5 can guide the development and appropriate targeting of health promotion programmes and has recently been used to plan some promising sports injury prevention interventions.2 The IM protocol advocates for specific action to ensure successful development and implementation of evidence- and theory-informed, context-specific interventions to maximise programme adoption, implementation and sustainability. There are seven IM protocol tasks involved in planning for adoption, implementation and sustainability — starting with identifying potential programme adopters and implementers and finishing with designing interventions for programme use, implementation and sustainability (table 1). These provide a framework for systematically planning …