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First, do no harm “nothing”… and listen
  1. Nicol van Dyk1,
  2. Ron Martoia2,
  3. Kieran O’Sullivan3
  1. 1Rehabilitation Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Wildly Better TM
  3. 3Sports Spine Centre, Aspetar Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicol van Dyk, Rehabilitation Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar; nicol.vanDyk{at}

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The oath—‘do no harm’—ensures the health and well-being of the patient are protected, respected and hopefully improved. However, it implies that ‘something’ will be done where a definitive answer or diagnosis will be generated and a specific treatment plan generated. While the latter aligns with common practice and meets the expectations of athletes and clinicians alike,1 it presents a temptation to rush into a specific treatment path that is difficult to resist. Even pain science education (‘explain pain’) as a recognised treatment of common musculoskeletal disorders might still underestimate the initial interaction between the practitioner and the patient.2 It seems that listening, or the opportunity to discuss problems, might be as important as specifically targeted education.2

In this editorial, we explore a key component of assessment that might aid practitioners in their clinical care of patients—doing ‘nothing’ (translation—really listening). Specifically, how generative listening might improve the outcome for the individual.

The benefits of doing ‘nothing’ (really listening) 

In sports medicine, as with other fields of healthcare, athletes …

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  • Contributors NvD: first draft and conceptual idea of the manuscript; review, editing and writing of the manuscript. RM and KOS: editing, reviewing, writing and development of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

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