Personalized Injury Reduction Strategies in Sports Medicine: Lessons Learned from Advances in Breast Cancer Treatment: A Clinical Commentary

Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2023 Feb 1;18(1):253-261. doi: 10.26603/001c.57680. eCollection 2023.


Background: Injury rates across sport have risen over the past twenty years, despite increased efforts in training and injury prevention. The rise in injury rates suggest that current approaches to estimating injury risk and risk management are not effective. One factor limiting progress is the inconsistency in screening, risk assessment, and risk management strategies to guide injury mitigation approaches.

Clinical question: How can sports physical therapists identify and apply lessons learned from other healthcare fields to improve athlete injury risk and risk management strategies?

Key results: Breast cancer mortality has consistently decreased over the last 30 years, largely attributed to advances in personalizing the prevention and treatment strategies which include modifiable and non-modifiable factors when assessing risk, the transition to personalized medicine, and the systematic approach used to investigate individual risk factors. Three critical phases have facilitated the identification and importance of individual risk factors and developing targeted, personalized strategies for breast cancer risk including: 1) Establishing the potential relationship between factors and outcomes; 2) Prospectively investigate the strength and direction of the relationship; 3) Investigating if intervening on identified factors alters prognosis.

Clinical application: Applying lessons learned from other healthcare fields could improve shared decision making between the clinician and athlete concerning risk assessment and management. Examples include calculating only non-modifiable risk, creating individualized screening schedules based on risk assessment, or calculating the influence of each intervention on the athlete's injury risk. A systematic approach to identify and intervene on risk is needed to improve athlete outcomes.

Keywords: Confounding; Prediction; Risk; Risk Management.