A Model for Applying Situational Awareness Theory to the Return to Sport Continuum.
Porter KH, Hoch MC.
Background: Despite developing and implementing return to sport guidelines, high rates of re-injury remain. The return to sport continuum is a three-phase, criterion-based progression based on physical and psychological factors used to guide the sports medicine team in return to sport decision making. Situational awareness (SA) pertains to an athlete’s knowledge of the dynamic environment (i.e., their ability to perceive the components in the environment, comprehend the meaning of the perceived information, and predict future actions based on that comprehension). SA can be applied on a cognitive continuum that encompasses three levels, each stage becoming more challenging with additional time constraints and increased uncertainty. Integrating the cognitive continuum with the return to sport continuum may optimize the return to sport process and enhance the athletes’ preparedness for competition by incorporating cognitive challenges aligned with live competition. The purpose of this clinical commentary is to describe a return to sport model that integrates SA theory on the cognitive continuum with additional consideration for surrounding contextual factors.
Level of Evidence: 5