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Can project management principles help the sports clinician manage return to play?
  1. Boris Gojanovic1,2,
  2. François Fourchet1,
  3. Per Bo Mahler1,
  4. Finn Mahler1
  1. 1 Hôpital de La Tour, Swiss Olympic Medical Center, Meyrin, Switzerland
  2. 2 Sports Medicine, Department for Human Locomotion (DAL), Lausanne University and Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Boris Gojanovic, Health and Performance Medical Director, Swiss Olympic Medical Center, Hôpital de La Tour, Meyrin 1217, Switzerland; boris.gojanovic{at}

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Clinicians face return-to-play (RTP) decisions on a daily basis, and a lot of discussions revolve around which criteria are most helpful for decision-making. The models around RTP have a strong focus on biological and physiological aspects (tissue healing and body function), and recently started to integrate psychological aspects (biopsychosocial models).1 These models individualise RTP, by considering athlete-related factors, but fail to consider the myriad extrinsic parameters that influence and modify RTP issues. Here, the Strategic Assessment of Risk and Risk Tolerance model,2 which organises the available information into factors that determine participation risk and introduces a further layer (step 3=risk tolerance modifiers) to account for these other factors, can help the decisionmaker/s.

Looking at the broader picture of RTP, we see that decision-making processes are the end result of a series of steps, starting from injury occurrence. To provide an optimal path to RTP, these steps must be defined and their execution mastered, often in complex multistakeholder environments typical of elite sports. We believe that we can learn from management principles to implement better RTP approaches.

RTP is a project to manage

Project management (PM) defines a project as a temporary endeavour to create a unique …

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  • Contributors BG conceptualised and wrote the manuscript. PBM, FF and FM contributed to framing the ideas, and writing, editing and final approval of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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