Educate, involve and collaborate: three strategies for clinicians to empower athletes during return to sport

Review written by Dr Teddy Willsey info

Key Points

  1. Empowering athletes through a focus on education, collaboration and autonomy helps them to optimize the return to sport process.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Previous studies have shown that encouraging patient involvement in their own rehabilitation can lead to improved health-related behaviors, patient satisfaction, and superior outcomes (1). To date, most of the research on motivating patients has taken place in the context of chronic disease where consistent behavioral change and adherence is essential to management, including obesity, type II diabetes, and stroke rehabilitation (2).

There has been very little research conducted on how clinicians in a sport setting can encourage empowerment amongst patients. On an individual level, empowerment can be broadly understood to include aspects of self-confidence, autonomy, and determination. The idea of empowerment parallels previously proposed beneficial approaches that places patients at the centre of the multidisciplinary team and involves them in decision-making (3).

The authors of this paper sought to explore the idea of empowerment during rehabilitation and return to sport (RTS) by outlining a framework established from the basic psychological needs theory (BPNT).

Encouraging patient involvement in their own rehabilitation can lead to improved health-related behaviors, patient satisfaction, and superior outcomes.
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When clinicians focus on psychological comfort and safety with their patients, they prioritize purposeful word selection, transparent decision making, and collaborative language.

METHODS

The empowerment framework, based on the BPNT, encourages clinicians to facilitate a sense of empowerment amongst their patients through education, communication, engagement, and responsibility. Three specific strategies were offered based on their previously published efficacy, application in RTS rehab, and

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