by Andi Felix
While training to improve performance, it is important to incorporate injury prevention within the program. Longevity is key, as we have all heard of “career-ending injuries” depriving young athletes of their opportunity to achieve the dreams they’ve had since childhood.
Knee injuries are a devastating problem in U.S. high school sports, causing the stress of lost time and added financial responsibilities on athletes and families. The highest rate of sport-related knee injuries, in general as well as ACL-specific, occur in football and girls’ soccer (Swenson, Collins, Best, Flanigan, Fields & Comstock, 2014). The risk of knee injury increases in sports, such as soccer, football, and lacrosse, that involve more jumping, pivoting, and cutting. Knee injuries account for as much as 25 percent of all sport-related injuries, with 250,000 injuries involving the ACL, in the U.S. each year. (Donnell-Fink, Klara, Collins, Yang, Goczalk, Katz & Losina, 2015). Strength, endurance, and nutrition are all helpful in preventing injury, but what many trainers and athletes fail to incorporate in their programming is neuromuscular and proprioceptive training.
Neuromuscular and proprioceptive training improves the stabilization of joints, even if they are deficient or injured. While incorporating stretching, strengthening, and balance, these programs will increase athletes’ awareness of high risk positions and improve their technique, thus decreasing risk of injury. By use of a meta-analysis, of various relevant studies, neuromuscular and proprioceptive training has proven to significantly reduce knee injury by 26.9 percent, as well as reduce ACL injury, specifically, by 50.7 percent (Donnell-Fink, Klara, Collins, Yang, Goczalk, Katz & Losina, 2015).
At FX Athletic Performance, these injury prevention techniques are used in every element of the session. Neuromuscular and proprioceptive training is included through teaching proper deceleration in speed and agility, coaching proper form and technique through skill and ball work, and through specific strength programs to improve balance and stability. Our knee injury prevention programs also include strengthening stabilizer muscles and correcting muscular imbalances that could lead to injury. As a youth athlete with long-term goals, it is very important to train for longevity, and not just for the upcoming game.
Donnell-Fink, L. A., Klara, K., Collins, J. E., Yang, H. Y., Goczalk, M. G., Katz, J. N., & Losina, E.
(2015). Effectiveness of Knee Injury and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear Prevention Programs: A Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE, 10(12), e0144063. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0144063
Swenson, D. M., Collins, C. L., Best, T. M., Flanigan, D. C., Fields, S. K., & Comstock, R. D. (2013).
EPIDEMIOLOGY OF KNEE INJURIES AMONG US HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES, 2005/06–2010/11. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45(3), 462–469. http://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e318277acc