It is now widely recognised that it is important to involve a full range of stakeholders and other research end-users, from the outset when designing and implementing prevention programmes. As long ago as 2003, my team recognised that the views of those actively involved in sport should also be considered when setting research priorities. Findings from our survey of coaches and sports administrators have since informed the direction of much of our sports injury research over the following decade in community Australian Football. There will be similar examples from other sports, even if they have not been formally documented in the sports medicine literature.
In 1983, Ekstrand et al published the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) of an injury prevention programme for team ball sport. Three decades on from this landmark study, it is worth reflecting on the progress made and the current ‘state-of-play’ in the field of team ball sport injury prevention research. The volume of published research has grown considerably with a recent systematic review of team ball sport injury prevention exercise programmes (IPEPs) identifying over 50 published trials. The scale, quality and outcomes of recent RCTs are also encouraging with a Swedish trial including over 4500 female soccer players and demonstrating a 64% reduction in the rate of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.