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Towards the reduction of injury and illness in athletes: defining our research priorities
  1. Caroline F Finch1,
  2. Roald Bahr2,3,
  3. Jonathan A Drezner4,
  4. Jiri Dvorak5,
  5. Lars Engebretsen2,
  6. Timothy Hewett6,
  7. Astrid Junge5,7,
  8. Karim M Khan8,
  9. Domhnall MacAuley9,
  10. Gordon O Matheson10,
  11. Paul McCrory1,11,
  12. Evert Verhagen12
  1. 1 Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3 Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  4. 4 Department of Family Medicine, Center for Sports Cardiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  5. 5 Department of Neurology, Schulthess Clinic Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  6. 6 Mayo Clinic Biomechanics Laboratories and Sports Medicine Center, Departments of Orthopedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Physiology & Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic, Rochester and Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  7. 7 Medical School Hamburg (MSH), Germany
  8. 8 Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Centre for Mobility and Health, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  9. 9 Faculty of Life and Health Studies, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK
  10. 10 Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine and Human Biology Program, School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
  11. 11 Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  12. 12 Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Collaboration on Health and Safety in Sports, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Professor Caroline F Finch, Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, P.O. Box 663, Ballarat, VIC 3353, Australia; c.finch{at}

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A decade ago, Blair1 pondered the future of physical activity research, much of which has since come to pass. More recently, a BJSM Blog2 invited readers to consider how their future research would look. Given the increased international focus on reducing injury/illness in athletes, it is timely to consider what research needs to be undertaken and acted on to achieve feasible reductions over the next 10 years.

‘Future Studies’3 or ‘Thought Leadership’ happens when a defined group of experts calls attention to what they think will be important for their field in the future. This is common in social science disciplines (eg, finance) and in scientific areas with major implications for policy development (eg, in climate control/environmental science). It has been less commonly applied in medicine, though it has underpinned discussion in areas like cancer research4 and academic medicine.5

Thought leadership involves big picture thinking and can lead to new ideas for major developments over time. There is evidence that such exercises can significantly shape research agenda and priority setting. This novel approach was applied to Sports and Exercise Medicine through asking a select group of international experts to contribute their priority research directions for the next 10 years. This is intended as a starting point only, to stimulate discussion with, and elicit responses from, the broader community interested in the prevention of injury and illness in athletes.

The experts

International experts were invited to participate if they had delivered ≥1 keynote addresses at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) World Conferences of Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in 2011, 2014 or their precursor conferences organised by the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre in 2005 and 2008. Of 21 keynote speakers, 12 contributed their views to this paper. The experts covered a range of disciplines, including clinical sports …

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  • Twitter Follow Caroline Finch @CarolineFinch

  • Contributors The study was conceived by CFF. All authors provided direct input to the study through their responses to an online survey and contributed to the writing and/or editing of the manuscript. Apart from the first author, who initiated this work, all other authors contributed equally to this manuscript and are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Funding CFF was funded by an NMHRC Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 1058737). Aspects of this study were funded through IOC Research Centres Programme support to the Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP) at Federation University Australia.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Federation University Australia Human Research Ethics Committee.

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