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Life is full of risky decisions, from mundane ones, to matters of life and death.1 In professional football, risk is everywhere: For the club—the risk of having a poor season and loss of income by not qualifying for an important competition. For the manager—overseeing a bad run of results, potentially jeopardising his position. For the player—poor performance and, of course, injury. For the medical/science team—bringing a player back too early from musculoskeletal injury, and he/she suffering a reinjury. The dilemma is that, usually, riskier options promise higher returns.1
In football, the decision to progress or delay a player's return to play (RTP) after musculoskeletal injury could be the difference between having a key player back two games earlier (giving the best chance to earn six points) contrasted with keeping the player out for two extra games, lowering his/her reinjury risk, but potentially ending up with fewer points. Which risk is more important? Do we aim for a reinjury rate of 0%? Or might we settle for 10% recurrence, where every injured player is back one game earlier?
RTP has been prominent …
Contributors CL proposed the idea for this editorial. AM and CA wrote the first draft. All authors revised the manuscript for important intellectual content and approved the final version. AM is the guarantor. AM and CL are co-first authors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.