A 15-minute neuromuscular warm-up program significantly reduced the ACL injury rate in teenage female soccer players, finds a new Swedish study, the first large-scale randomized study of its kind.1 Compliant players also had significant decrease in rates of severe knee injury and any acute knee injury.
Researchers asked a large intervention group of female U-14 to U-18 soccer players in Sweden to perform a 15-minute neuromuscular warm-up program consisting of six exercises (one-legged knee squat, pelvic lift, two-legged knee squat, the bench, the lunge and jump/landing technique) focusing on knee control and core stability similar to other programs twice a week over the course of a 6-month competitive season, while a control group trained and played as usual through the 2009 season without any changes.
They found that the 15-minute neuromuscular warm-up reduced the overall ACL injury rate in adolescent female soccer players by 64 percent. Additionally, a preventive effect was seen also for severe knee injury and any acute knee injury in players who completed the program at lease once a week.
"To the best of our knowledge, our study is the largest injury prevention randomised controlled trial in sports to date involving more than 4500 players," said lead author, Markus Walden, MD, PhD, of the Division of Community Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Sciences at Linkoping University in Kristianstad, Sweden.
The ACL injury rate in soccer is more than twice as high for females as for males, with adolescent females at especially high risk. The direct costs for surgery and hospital care for ACL reconstructions are high, and additional costs are associated with non-surgical treatment, postoperative rehabilitation, and disability claims. "Consequently, if nearly two-thirds of the ACL injuries could be avoided, it would substantially reduce the need for surgery and rehabilitation with large health economic benefits," Dr. Walden concluded.
1. Walden M, Atroshi I, Magnusson H, Wagner P, Hagglund M. A Randomized Trial of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Prevention in Adolescent Female Soccer. http://www.abstractsonline.com/Plan/ViewAbstract.aspx?mID=2841&sKey=b47442e0-6166-4918-b00e-4dfd2716f366&cKey=2491dfed-6375-4938-a7b3-4ef123141c5c&mKey=BA8AA154-A9B9-41F9-91A7-F4A4CB050945# (presented to Annual Meeting of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, February 7, 2012). [Note: Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal].
Posted February 14, 2012