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It will take more than an existing exercise programme to prevent injury
  1. James O'Brien,
  2. Alex Donaldson,
  3. Caroline F Finch
  1. Australian Centre for Research into Sports Injury and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to James O'Brien, Australian Centre for Research into Sports Injury and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, SMB Campus, P.O. Box 663, Ballarat, VIC 3353, Australia; ja.obrien{at}

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In 1983, Ekstrand et al 1 published the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) of an injury prevention programme for team ball sport. Three decades on from this landmark study, it is worth reflecting on the progress made and the current ‘state-of-play’ in the field of team ball sport injury prevention research. The volume of published research has grown considerably with a recent systematic review of team ball sport injury prevention exercise programmes (IPEPs) identifying over 50 published trials.2 The scale, quality and outcomes of recent RCTs are also encouraging with a Swedish trial including over 4500 female soccer players and demonstrating a 64% reduction in the rate of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.3

In 2013, a subsequent subanalysis of the original Swedish RCT, published in this journal, highlighted the importance of adequate IPEP compliance in preventing injuries. The ACL injury rate was 88% lower in highly compliant players, compared to those with low compliance.4 A 3-year follow-up,5 also published in this journal, investigated if coaches from the original trial and others in the same target …

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  • Twitter Follow James O'Brien at @_jamesobrien and Caroline Finch at @CarolineFinch

  • Funding This work was led by JO'B as part of his PhD studies, supervised by CFF. JO'B was supported by a Federation University Australia Postgraduate Scholarship. CFF was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 1058737). The Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP) is one of the International Research Centres for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health supported by the International Olympic Committee.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.