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  1. Natalia Bittencourt,
  2. Mariana Weschenfelder,
  3. Marcela Leite,
  4. Gabriela Gonçalves,
  5. Rafael Freire,
  6. Luciana Mendonça
  1. Minas Tenis Clube, Belo Horizonte, Brazil


    Background Youth gymnastic athletes have high risk for knee, ankle, spine and shoulder injury. Specific preventive programs could reduce injury incidence and sports time loss, which may reflect positively in an athlete's performance.

    Objective Compare injury incidence rate before and after the implementation of a tailored preventive intervention in youth gymnastic athletes.

    Design Prospective study.

    Setting All athletes were followed-up over a three-year period at Minas Tenis Clube. The tailored preventive intervention was implemented only in the third year.

    Patients (or Participants) 82 female and male gymnastic athletes participated in this study; the mean for age was 10.59±2.69 years; body mass, 33.36 ±12.86 kg; and height 136.99±15.98 cm.

    Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) After a preseason assessment a tailored preventive intervention was developed, including: 1) thoracic spine, shoulder, hip and ankle mobility; 2) core and scapular stabilization; 3) hip external rotation, eccentric lower limb and intrinsic foot muscle strengthening; 4) breathing exercises associated with core muscles. This preventive program was applied four times a week for 20 min supervised by the coaches and two times a week was executed by the sports physiotherapist.

    Main Outcome Measurements Injury incidence rate by 1000 hours of exposure and days of time loss were calculated each year.

    Results during the first two years without preventive intervention the injury incidence was 8.8 and 8 injuries/1000 h, respectively. The third year with preventive intervention had an incidence rate of 3.8 injury/1000 h. The average time loss of the two years was 902 days and in the third year was 345 days. T-test revealed statistical difference pre and post intervention (p<0,02).

    Conclusions This study has shown that a tailored preventive intervention was effective to reduce the injury incidence rate in youth gymnastic athletes.

    • Injury

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