Classification of Prevention in Sports Medicine and Epidemiology

Sports Med. 2015 Nov;45(11):1483-7. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0368-x.


It is today recognized that a large share of manifestations of ill health associated with sports participation is preventable and that a focus should be on implementation of effective prevention programs. One hindrance for implementation of effective preventive measures in sports medicine may be that an update of preventive frameworks to the current health challenges has not been performed. We introduce classifications of prevention that are adjusted to the health challenges faced by sports participants in the present day. To enable more precise characterizations of preventive measures, we find it necessary to describe them in two dimensions. In one dimension, pathological developments in the body are used as a basis for classification of preventive measures, while the other dimension classifies prevention on the grounds of epidemiological risk indicators. We conclude that longitudinal research combining diagnostic procedures, surveillance, and targeted interventions is needed to enable the introduction of prevention programs for athletes in the beginning of their sporting career at the pre-diagnostic stage, as well as suitable prevention measures for the adult elite athletes. A more distinct classification of prevention supports a specific and cost-effective planning and translation of sports injury prevention and safety promotion adjusted to the delivery settings, various injury types, and different groups of athletes. The present classifications constitute an additional conceptual foundation for such efforts.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / classification*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports Medicine / classification*