Background Neuromuscular training programs have shown to decrease injury rates in sport specific domains; however, there is limited research in non-sport populations.
Objective Examine the effectiveness of reducing sport injury through a high intensity, neuromuscular training program aimed at school youth.
Design Pilot, randomised controlled trial. Participants were randomised by school, to either intervention or control programs in year one. Year two, the intervention program was implemented in the control school.
Setting Physical education (PE) classes.
Participants 725 (year one) and 314 (year two) consenting participants aged 11–15.
Intervention Intervention group completed a 15 min, high intensity, neuromuscular training warm-up, three times per week for 12 weeks. The control group warm-up was the same duration, with standard of care components.
Main outcome measurements Sport injury, defined as any sport injury that required medical attention, and/or cessation of the activity, and/or time loss from sport. Secondary outcomes; aerobic fitness (VO2 maximum (ml/kg/min), vertical jump (cm) and balance (s).
Results Incidence rate ratios (IRR), adjusted for clustering by class, previous injury and exposure hours, estimated the intervention program was protective of all sport injury (IRR=0.29 (95% CI 0.18 to 0.46)), lower extremity injury (IRR=0.30 (95% CI 0.17 to 0.53)), and time loss injury (IRR=0.43 (95% CI 0.20 to 0.94)). The intervention group showed greater improvement in aerobic fitness (2.14 ml/kg/min (95% CI 1.17 to 2.59)) (t=-3.86, p=0.0001) and vertical jump (4.16 cm (95% CI 3.65 to 4.66)) (t=-3.67, p=0.0003) compared to the control group. No statistical differences were detected in balance measures.
Conclusions A neuromuscular training program implemented in PE classes was protective of all sport injury, lower extremity injury and time loss injury. Results pertaining to year two will be determined and presented.
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