Objectives: The aim of this review is to examine prevention strategies in adolescent school sport. The specific objectives for this systematic review are: 1) To identify randomised controlled trials and controlled intervention studies that evaluate the effectiveness of preventive strategies in adolescent school sport. 2) To make conclusions on the strength of the evidence supporting methods used to prevent injury.
Method: A computer based literature search in seven databases:- Medline, Sports discus, EMBASE, CINAHL, PEDro, Cochrane Review and DARE. Four key words were used: adolescent, sport, injury and prevention (expanded to capture any relevant literature). Assessment of 154 retrieved papers found 12 studies eligible for inclusion.
Results: Injury prevention studies fell into three groups; the effect of use of protective equipment, the effect of a pre-season conditioning programme, and the effect of an injury prevention strategy that continued throughout the season. There is poor evidence that eye goggles and knee pads can reduce the incidence of head and face, and knee injuries respectively, however there is currently no evidence to suggest that head gear and knee braces have a positive effect on injury prevention. There is moderate evidence that six-weeks of preseason conditioning, or prevention strategies carried out throughout the playing season prevented injury.
Conclusion: The development and application of injury prevention strategies that focus on preseason conditioning, functional training, education, balance and sport specific skills, which should be continued throughout the sporting season, are effective. The evidence for protective equipment in injury prevention is inconclusive and requires further assessment.