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Returning to Sport After Gymnastics Injuries

Sweeney, Emily A., MD1,2; Howell, David R., PhD, ATC1,2; James, David A., DPT, OCS, SCS3,4; Potter, Morgan N., BA1; Provance, Aaron J., MD1,2

doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000533
Competitive Sports: Section Articles

Acute and overuse injuries are a common experience for artistic gymnasts; however, this population has unique needs when returning to their sport after an injury due to the technical demands imposed during gymnastics. We reviewed the current literature regarding return to play (RTP) in artistic gymnasts and developed four goals: 1) to define the guiding principles used to determine RTP in sports, 2) to identify factors that affect recovery progression among gymnasts, 3) to determine how different injury types affect RTP protocols, and 4) to create structured RTP protocols specific to gymnasts based on sex and body part injured. By establishing these guidelines, we hope to provide guidance to medical providers through a standardized approach for returning gymnasts to their sport.

Artistic gymnasts should follow unique return to play (RTP) guidelines based on the type of injury and body part injured to safely return to their sport.

1Children’s Hospital Colorado, Sports Medicine Center, Aurora, CO;

2University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO;

3University of Colorado School of Medicine, Physical Therapy Program, Aurora, CO; and

4Cascade Sports Injury Prevention and PT, Lakewood, CO

Address for correspondence: Emily A. Sweeney, MD, Children’s Hospital Colorado, 13123 E. 16th Ave, Box 060, Aurora, CO 80045; E-mail:

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Sports Medicine.