Friday, August 23, 2013

Compliance with Neuromuscular Training is Key to ACL Injury Prevention

Researchers in Sweden have found that adherence to anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention programs is critical in preventing ACL injuries. They asked 184 soccer teams (2471 female players, ages 12-17) to participate in regular neuromuscular training as part of their regular training sessions. As is often the case with new training programs, compliance waned as the season progressed (~3-5% per month). However, the teams that maintained their training and continued to comply with the program saw a reduction of 88% in ACL injuries. This was compared to low compliance teams and control teams who did not undergo training.

An 88% reduction in knee injuries in young female players is very significant. This is a particularly vulnerable group with 4-10 times the risk of ACL injury compared to males. The short and long-term consequences of an ACL injury can be serious, ranging from lost playing time and substantial financial costs to increased risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life. Given that neuromuscular training can reduce injury risk by nearly 90%, it makes sense to include programs such as the FIFA 11+ warm-up as part of a regular training routine. Keeping players healthy should be priority number one.

Reference

Hägglund M, Atroshi I, Wagner P, Waldén M. (2013) Superior compliance with a neuromuscular training programme is associated with fewer ACL injuries and fewer acute knee injuries in female adolescent football players: secondary analysis of an RCT. British Journal of Sports Medicine, doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092644.