Article Text

PDF
Want to improve return to sport outcomes following injury? Empower, engage, provide feedback and be transparent: 4 habits!
  1. Jonny King1,
  2. Craig Roberts1,
  3. Steve Hard1,
  4. Clare L Ardern2,3
  1. 1Performance Center, AFC Bournemouth, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK
  2. 2School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Jonny King, AFC Bournemouth, Bournemouth, BH7 7AF, UK; jonny.king{at}afcb.co.uk

Statistics from Altmetric.com

A major limitation of the traditional return to sport (RTS) decision has been the exclusion of the athlete in question.1 Recently, two frameworks have underscored the importance of involving the athlete in a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and putting them at the centre of a shared decision-making process that collectively decides RTS protocol.2 3 RTS should also be considered as a continuum that begins at the onset of injury, rather than an isolated step occurring at the end of rehabilitation.3 It should be a process that fosters athlete autonomy; this has been shown to promote personal development, improve motivation and task performance, and subsequently improve rehabilitation outcomes.4

To date, little has been published on the practicality of integrating these principles into a rehabilitation programme within a high-performance environment. The purpose of this editorial is to outline four key habits that clinicians and practitioners can focus on to improve RTS outcomes and maximise rehabilitation outputs : empowerment, engagement, feedback and being transparent. We refer to this as the ‘athlete-centred return to sport approach’ (figure 1).

Figure 1

The process framing our athlete-centred return to sport approach.

Four key habits underpinning the athlete-centred RTS approach

Empower the athlete

Educate the athlete early about their injury. Take the time to describe potentially injured structures and explain the basic stages of tissue healing. Having this conversation within the first days of injury is an opportunity to empower the athlete early in taking ownership of their  rehabilitation. An example of this would be educating the athlete how they can modify their nutrition to optimise recovery during the acute phase of injury. We have found that these early discussions can help establish a strong collaborative working relationships between the athlete and clinician for the journey from injury through to RTS and performance. It also reminds the athlete that RTS starts from the very moment of …

View Full Text

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.