The fallacy of amelioration: Thinking through Knowledge Translation in sport and exercise medicine

Sheree Bekker, Penny Paliadelis, Caroline F Finch

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Knowledge Translation, as a component of implementation science, has seen extensive popularisation in Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) over recent years. However, in seeking better and more influential outcomes, much of SEM appears to be following Knowledge Translation fashion and fad, over ensuring function and form. This has meant that key concepts in Knowledge Translation have been conflated, the work oversimplified, and potential outcomes overhyped. In this paper, Knowledge Translation is, first, defined as a process. Next, we show how oversimplified versions of Knowledge Translation rely on the ‘fallacy of amelioration’, with problematic consequences and unintended outcomes. Finally, we move to rethinking Knowledge Translation in SEM by showing how the field can move forward through embracing Knowledge Translation as a complex process to maximise the influence and impact of its work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
JournalTranslational Sports Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2018



  • Knowledge Translation
  • Efficacy
  • Effectiveness
  • Intervention
  • Injury Prevention
  • Complexity

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