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Looking back over 20 years of sports medicine prevention and treatment: progress, but still a lot to achieve
  1. Mats Börjesson1,
  2. Magnus Forssblad2,
  3. Jón Karlsson3
  1. 1Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Stockholm Sports Trauma Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3University of Gothenburg, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jón Karlsson, Department of Orthopaedics, Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Mölndal, 431 80 Mölndal, Sweden; jon.karlsson{at}

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Looking back over the past 20–25 years of taking care of athletes at all levels, we can appreciate substantial improvements. In most cases during this period, the injured athlete returned to sports activity; previously, sports-related injuries were often career-ending.

Credit is due in part to the work of sports traumatologists, pioneers within modern orthopaedics. Mini-invasive surgery, especially arthroscopic techniques, have considerably reduced surgical morbidity. From what previously required an open wound 10–25 cm long, ACL reconstruction is now performed through 2 or 3 stab wounds, 5 mm in size. This means shorter surgical times, shorter hospital stay and improved patient-rated outcomes.

Similarly, sports cardiology has developed and now offers team physicians and athletes preventive measures (cardiac screening, superior ECG interpretation recommendations1) as well as improved safety at sports events (automated external defibrillators).

Despite the above achievements, we see room for further improvement in at least four areas.

  1. Prevention programmes need better implementation.

    Ten to 15 years ago, prevention …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

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