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No longer lost in translation: the art and science of sports injury prevention implementation research
  1. Caroline F Finch
  1. Correspondence to Caroline F Finch, Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Monash Injury Research Institute, Monash University, Clayton Campus, Melbourne, Victoria 3800, Australia; caroline.finch{at}


It is now understood that sports injury interventions will not have significant public health impact if they are not widely accepted and adopted by target sports participants. Although there has been increasing recognition of the need for intervention studies conducted within the real-world context of sports delivery, very few studies have been conducted in this important area. A major reason for this is that there are significant challenges in conducting implementation research; the more traditional sports medicine approaches may not be fully appropriate and new ways of thinking about how to design, conduct and report such research is needed. Moreover, real-world implementation of sports injury interventions and evaluation of their effectiveness needs to start to take into account the broad ecological context in which they are introduced, as well as considering the best way to translate this knowledge to reach the audiences who most need to benefit from such research. This overview paper provides perspectives and guidance on the design, conduct and evaluation of sports injury intervention implementation studies, including better understanding of the complexity of the ecological settings for intervention delivery. Some conceptual approaches that could be adopted in future implementation studies are discussed; particular emphasis is given to Intervention Mapping as a tool to assist intervention development, Diffusion of Innovations Theory to guide the planning of intervention strategies and the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation and maintenance) framework for programme evaluation and programme design. Finally, a broad agenda for this emerging important field of sports medicine research is outlined.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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