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A Framework for Clinicians to Improve the Decision-Making Process in Return to Sport

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-09, 23:08 authored by Kate K Yung, Clare ArdernClare Ardern, Fabio R Serpiello, Sam Robertson
Return-to-sport (RTS) decisions are critical to clinical sports medicine and are often characterised by uncertainties, such as re-injury risk, time pressure induced by competition schedule and social stress from coaches, families and supporters. RTS decisions have implications not only for the health and performance of an athlete, but also the sports organisation. RTS decision-making is a complex process, which relies on evaluating multiple biopsychosocial factors, and is influenced by contextual factors. In this narrative review, we outline how RTS decision-making of clinicians could be evaluated from a decision analysis perspective. To begin with, the RTS decision could be explained as a sequence of steps, with a decision basis as the core component. We first elucidate the methodological considerations in gathering information from RTS tests. Second, we identify how decision-making frameworks have evolved and adapt decision-making theories to the RTS context. Third, we discuss the preferences and perspectives of the athlete, performance coach and manager. We conclude by proposing a framework for clinicians to improve the quality of RTS decisions and make recommendations for daily practice and research.


KY is supported by the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.


Publication Date



Sports Medicine - Open





Article Number





Springer Nature



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