Sideline documentation and its role in return to sport

Delmas Bolin, Mike Goforth
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: Official Journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine 2005, 15 (6): 405-9

OBJECTIVE: To determine common sideline practices for the management of clinical information in the collegiate setting and review available literature on sideline documentation.

DATA SOURCES: A survey was distributed to member schools of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to elicit the individual school practices with regard to injury evaluation, medication dispensation, extent of medical record availability, and means and timing of documentation. Articles were retrieved from Pubmed and SportDiscus searches for combinations of terms sports injuries, athletic injuries, return to play, documentation, medical record, injury report, injury card, and injury tracking for items relevant to sideline documentation methods for return to play decision making.

RESULTS: We obtained responses from 100% of member schools. One hundred percent of ACC member schools dispense prescription medication following injury evaluation on the sideline. Four of 11 schools do not perform some elemental documentation at that time. Four of 11 ACC schools use some form of electronic medical record for injury documentation. Most schools have access to elemental medical information (such as allergy and medical conditions) on the sideline. A literature search yielded several references to concussion and injury tracking; however, no systematic reports examining sideline documentation systems were obtained. Two articles utilizing card-based systems for injury tracking in the collegiate setting were retrieved.

CONCLUSIONS: On-field documentation of return to play decision making has not been widely discussed or systematically studied. In the ACC, most institutions record clinically relevant athletic injury data on-site at the time of evaluation and later prepare a full note describing the evaluation and return to play decisions. We discuss a laminated card-based and a handheld computer-based system as 2 methods for efficient documentation of sideline treatment and return to play decisions. Commercial products and sideline information management and data collection are also discussed.

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