Eminence-based medicine versus evidence-based medicine: Level V evidence in sports medicine

Fotios P. Tjoumakaris, Theodore J. Ganley, Rahul Kapur, John Kelly, Brian J. Sennett, Joseph Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Through extensive survey analysis, we investigated expert opinion in sports medicine. The study had 3 purposes: to provide clinical guidance for cases in which the correct action is not necessarily apparent, to examine expert opinion itself, and to delineate areas of future study. A total of 500 members of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine evaluated a set of 25 statements on unresolved issues in sports medicine. The following 10 statements were deemed false: "It's okay for 12-year-old pitchers to throw curve balls; it's the pitch count that matters"; "Resistance training ('weight lifting') should be avoided until physeal closure"; "Jogging during pregnancy is to be avoided"; "At an athletic event, if sideline coverage is offered by an emergency medical technician and athletic trainer, there is little additional benefit from having a physician present"; "Contact sport athletes who sustain a second concussion should be excluded from contact sports permanently"; "The utility of pre-season medical screening is derived from the history; as such, student-athletes should complete a questionnaire, with physical examination reserved for only those with a positive relevant history"; "Femoroacetabular impingement is a myth-the designation of anatomic variation as disease"; "An AC (acromioclavicular) separation in a contact athlete should not be treated surgically if the athlete won't give up the sport; it will fail"; "Ankle taping induces weakness and atrophy of the dynamic stabilizers of the ankle"; "Only autografts should be used in ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery, as allografts have an unnecessary high failure rate in clinical practice." One statement was accepted as true: "Surgery to treat anterior (patello-femoral) knee pain in a patient with normal patellar mechanics and stability is contraindicated." In short, expert opinion may be a helpful adjunct to clinical practice. Expert opinion cannot replace individual judgment and certainly does not trump the primary medical literature. Yet when better evidence is lacking, expert opinion is valuable for even the staunchest practitioner of evidence-based medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalPhysician and Sportsmedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Expert opinion
  • Level V evidence


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