Neuromuscular training at a young age may prevent ACL injuries in females

October 17, 2012

Topic: injury prevention

Neuromuscular training at a young age may prevent ACL injuries in females

New research published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that female athletes who begin integrative neuromuscular training when they're 14 years old are more than 70 percent less likely to injure their knee ligaments, as compared to those females who do not start such training until they are in college. In particular, exercises that strengthen the knee may help reduce the risk of a partial or complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which are more likely to occur among adolescents and teenagers.

ACL injuries are the most common affliction of the knee, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. They are typically seen in athletes who play high-demand sports, such as football, basketball and soccer. Coaches and trainers should stress injury prevention techniques that their players can use to avoid these mishaps.

Researchers looked through the information collected for 14 clinical trials of neuromuscular training and ACL injuries seen in girls and young women. They found that female athletes who received instruction at an early age had a decreased risk of hurting their knee.

"Injury rates seem to peak at around 16 years old, and our conclusion we draw from that is we may be missing the mark if we wait until injury rates are peaking and females are probably playing a number of years at high risk," Gregory Myer, lead author of the study, told Reuters Health. 

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