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Make it REAL: four simple points to increase clinical relevance in sport and exercise medicine research
  1. Thomas Bandholm1,2,3,
  2. Marius Henriksen4,5,
  3. Shaun Treweek6,
  4. Kristian Thorborg1,7
  1. 1Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Research – Copenhagen (PMR-C), Department of Occupational and Physical Therapy, Amager-Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Amager-Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. 3Clinical Research Centre, Amager-Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Copenhagen University Hospital Bispebjerg-Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. 5The Parker Institute, Copenhagen University Hospital Bispebjerg-Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. 6Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  7. 7Sports Orthopedic Research Centre – Copenhagen (SORC-C), Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Amager-Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Bandholm; thomas.quaade.bandholm{at}regionh.dk

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Introduction

Clinical sport and exercise medicine (SEM) research is a branch of ‘clinical research’, a term meant to cover all types of investigations that address questions on the prevention, treatment, diagnosis/screening or prognosis of disease or enhancement and maintenance of health.1 As such, clinical SEM research should be useful and inform evidence-based decision making. While this may seem intuitively correct, careful considerations about whether our research is relevant for others than ourselves is an important exercise to facilitate ‘real world’ implementation. Because the current research reward system values research quantity more than quality (publish or perish), it is understandable why we sometimes forget to slow down2 and consider relevance for others than ourselves.

Recently, different initiatives concerning patient-relevant outcomes3 and partnering with patients4 have increased attention towards addressing the relevance of clinical research from an end-user perspective. This focus is also increasing in clinical SEM where involvement of end-users is part of tools to bridge the science–practice gap.5 In this editorial, we focus on a few simple, yet important points, to obtain stakeholder involvement …

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