Background: To date various studies have demonstrated that proprioception training can reduce the risk of injuries in pivoting sports. However, the contributing factors from proprioception training are not clearly understood.
Purpose: To determine the contributing effects of propioception on knee joint position sense among team handball players.
Study Design: Prospective cohort study.
Methods: Two professional female handball teams were followed prospectively for a 2005-2006 season. 20 players of the first (intervention) team followed a prescribed proprioceptive training program whereas 19 players of the control team did not have s specific propioceptive training program. The coaches recorded all exposures of the individual players. The location and nature of injuries were also recorded. Joint Position Sense (JPS) was measured by a goniometer on both knees in 3 angle interval testing each angle 5 times. Assessments were performed by the same examiner at both teams. Assessments were performed before and after the season. At the intervention team there a third assessment was also performed during the season. Complete data were obtained from 15 subjects from the intervention and 16 from the control team. Absolute error score, error of variation score and SEM were calculated. Comparison was made between the results of the intervention and the control teams.
Results: The proprioception sensory function of the players in the intervention team has improved, and this improvement was significant between the two assessments (mean absolute error before: 9,78-8,21°(±7,19-6,08°SD); after: 3,61-4,04°(±3,71-3,20°SD); p<0,05 the season), The sensory function didn't improve in the control team (mean absolute error were before the season 6,31-6,22°(±6,12-3,59°SD); after 6,13-6,69°(±7,46-6,49°SD) p>0,05).
Conclusion: This is the first study which proved that proprioception training improves the joint position sense among elite female handball players. This joint position sense improvement can be one of the explanations for injury rate reduction effect of neuromuscular training.