Neuromuscular Warm-Up Cuts Lower Extremity Injury

Coach-led neuromuscular warm-up effectively lowers non-contact injuries in female athletes

TUESDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of coach-led neuromuscular warm-up reduces the incidence of non-contact lower extremity (LE) injuries in female high school athletes, according to a study published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Cynthia R. LaBella, M.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues examined the effect of coach-led neuromuscular warm-up on LE injuries in 1,492 female athletes of mixed-ethnicity from predominantly low income, urban populations. Ninety coaches completed the study. Intervention coaches were trained to implement a 20-minute neuromuscular warm-up, while the control coaches used their routine warm-up. Self-report and direct observation were used to assess coach compliance. Athlete exposures (AEs) and LE injuries that led to a missed practice or game were reported weekly by coaches, and injured athletes were interviewed by research assistants.

The investigators found that there were 28,023 interventions and 22,925 control AEs. The prescribed neuromuscular warm-up was implemented by intervention coaches in 1,425 of 1,773 practices (80.4 percent). Significantly lower rates of gradual-onset LE injuries (0.43 versus 1.22), acute-onset non-contact LE injuries (0.71 versus 1.61), non-contact ankle sprains (0.25 versus 0.74), and surgically treated LE injuries (zero versus 0.17) were reported in intervention athletes. Incidence rate ratios were significant for acute-onset non-contact LE injuries (0.33), non-contact ankle sprains (0.38), non-contact knee sprains (0.30), and non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries (0.20).

"These findings suggest that neuromuscular training should be routine in girls' high school soccer and basketball," the authors write.

The neuromuscular warm-up, marketed as Knee Injury Prevention Program, was donated at cost.

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