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SportsMedUpdate
  1. Martin P Schwellnus
  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa

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In a prospective cohort study over three seasons, a soccer-specific balance training programme in female players reduced the incidence of non-contact hamstring strain injuries, patellar tendinopathy and Achilles tendinopathy

Background

It has been documented that balance training can reduce the risk of some injuries (anterior cruciate ligament, ankle ligament sprains) in soccer players

Research question/s

Does a balance training programme reduce the incidence of hamstring muscle injuries and tendinopathy in elite female soccer players?

Methodology

Subjects: Twenty-four premier league female soccer players (21±4 years, body mass index 21.7±1.2).

Experimental procedure: All the subjects were studied over three soccer seasons. In the first half of the first season, no intervention took place (CON period). Thereafter, subjects regularly performed specific balance training (12 exercises), and duration of balance training (min) was documented for two and a half seasons (TR period). In both periods, injuries (contact and non-contact) (injuries/1000 h of exposure and time lost/injury) were documented.

Measures of outcome: Incidence of injuries (per 1000 h) in the two periods, mean time loss for injuries, correlation between duration of balance training and injury rate.

Main finding/s

The mean time loss of injuries (days) decreased from 14.4 (CON) to 1.5 (TR) (p=0.003), and there was a general relationship between increased training and reduction in injuries.

Conclusion/s

In a prospective cohort study over three seasons, a soccer-specific balance training programme in female players reduced the incidence of non-contact hamstring strain injuries, patellar tendinopathy and Achilles tendinopathy.

Evidence-based rating: 7/10 …

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