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Applying implementation science to sports injury prevention
  1. Alex Donaldson1,
  2. Caroline F Finch2
  1. 1 Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI), Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Centre for Healthy and Safe Sport (CHASS), University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alex Donaldson, Centre for Healthy and Safe Sport (CHASS), University of Ballarat, SMB Campus, PO Box 668, Ballarat, VIC 3353, Australia; a.donaldson{at}

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Recent commentary in the BJSM has argued that a key challenge for future sports injury prevention is to reduce the ‘research to practice’ gap.1 Unfortunately, very few examples of this type of research actually exist. In this issue, Myklebust et al 2 describe their approach to anterior cruciate ligament  (ACL) injury prevention in Norwegian Handball over the past 13 years. This is one of the first published papers on the long-term outcomes of a sports injury prevention intiative that has shown promising efficacy in controlled trials.3 While this paper describes an impressive intial research effort and outstanding example of long-term follow-up through an ACL Injury Surveillance Programme, it also highlights challenges associated with conducting sports injury prevention implementation research.

Gaps in sports injury prevention implementation research

Like other reports of the implementation of sports injury prevention interventions,4–8 Myklebust et al have listed the implementation activities undertaken without providing details of theoretical frameworks, specifc evidence or guiding principles used to inform selection or operationalisation of these activities. While considerable effort is often invested in describing the details of, and the evidence-based underpinning, interventions, implementation research also requires detailed information about what specific implementation strategies were put in place, why and how they were selected and delivered, and how effective they were in reaching and influencing the behaviour of the targeted audience.9 It is insufficient to describe implementation activities in general …

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  • Funding This work was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Project grant (ID: 565907) which included additional support (both in cash and kind) from the following project partner agencies: the Australian Football League; Victorian Health Promotion Foundation; New South Wales Sporting Injuries Committee; JLT Sport, a division of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Australia Pty Ltd; Department of Planning and Community Development—Sport and Recreation Victoria Division; and Sports Medicine Australia—National and Victorian Branches. Caroline Finch was supported by a NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 565900). AD was supported by a Monash Research Accelerator grant from Monash University.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.