Context Matters: Revisiting the First Step of the 'Sequence of Prevention' of Sports Injuries

Caroline Bolling, Willem van Mechelen, H Roeline Pasman, Evert Verhagen
Sports Medicine 2018, 48 (10): 2227-2234
It is possible to prevent sports injuries. Unfortunately, the demonstrated efficacy and effectiveness of injury prevention approaches are not translated into lasting real-world effects. Contemporary views in sports medicine and injury prevention suggest that sports injuries are 'complex' phenomena. If the problem we aim to prevent is complex, then the first step in the 'sequence of prevention' that defines the 'injury problem' already needs to have considered this. The purpose of this paper is to revisit the first step of the 'sequence of prevention', and to explore new perspectives that acknowledge the complexity of the sports injury problem. First, this paper provides a retrospective of the 'sequence of prevention', acknowledging contemporary views on sports injuries and their prevention. Thereafter, from the perspective of the socioecological model, we demonstrate the need for taking into account the complex nature of sports injuries in the first step. Finally, we propose an alternative approach to explore and understand injury context through qualitative research methods. A better understanding of the injury problem in context will guide more context-sensitive studies, thus providing a new perspective for sports injury prevention research.

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