Background Previous studies have established the efficacy of neuromuscular training (NMT) warm-up programs at reducing the risk of injury in youth in sport-specific contexts and, more recently, in a pilot study that included two Calgary junior high schools.
Objective To determine the efficacy of iSPRINT (Implementing a School Prevention program to Reduce Injuries through Neuromuscular Training), a NMT warm-up program in reducing sport and recreational (S&R) injuries.
Design Cluster randomized controlled trial.
Setting Junior high school physical education (PE) classes in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Participants Students in grades 7–9, ages 11–16 years (n=429), from four of twelve junior high schools in the first of three study years.
Interventions The iSPRINT NMT program was taught to and delivered by teachers as a S&R injury prevention warm-up program in PE classes. Schools were randomized into the NMT intervention group or a control group (two schools per group).
Main Outcome Measurements Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were estimated using Poisson regression analyses to compare injuries between groups. Injuries were assessed by a physiotherapist or athletic therapist and included any S&R injury that resulted in inability to return to the same activity, time loss from physical activity, or required medical attention.
Results Injury rates (adjusted for hours of sport participation, previous injury, and clustering by class) were significantly lower in the intervention group (n=241) compared to the control group (n=188) for all sport injury (IRR=0.48, 95% CI; 0.26–0.91) and lower extremity injury (IRR=0.38, 95% CI; 0.20–0.74). Crude time loss injury rates (IRR=0.09, 95% CI; 0.02–0.45) and knee injury rates (IRR=0.18, 95% CI; 0.05–0.66) were also significantly lower in the intervention group.
Conclusions These preliminary results suggest the efficacy of the iSPRINT program in reducing the risk of S&R injury in a junior high PE context. This research will inform the public health impact of school-based injury prevention programs.
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