Study Design Case-control.
Objectives To determine if the Y-Balance Test (YBT) can discriminate between collegiate athletes with and without a history of ankle sprain injury.
Background Performance on the YBT has been a predictor of lower extremity injury risk in collegiate athletes. However, it is unknown if the YBT can detect residual postural control deficits in athletes with a history of ankle sprain (HxAS) compared to athletes with no ankle sprain history (NHxAS).
Methods and Measures One hundred and forty-three collegiate athletes reported a HxAS (M/F:98/45; Age:19.68±1.61 years; Height:174.31±11.27 cm; Mass:80.32±18.27 kg) while 229 reported NHxAS (M/F:169/60; Age:19.82±1.80 years; Height:173.81±11.24 cm; Mass:78.02±17.21 kg). All participants had no history of lower extremity injury or surgery besides ankle sprain injury. Participants performed the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral directions of the YBT barefoot on both limbs. Four practice trials were followed by three test trials in each direction. In cases of unilateral injury history, the data for the previously injured limb was used for analysis. Pooled data between limbs was used for all other participants. Mann-Whitney U tests with corresponding effect sizes (ES) examined group differences in each reach direction.
Results A significant difference was identified in the anterior direction (HxAS: 59.07%±6.49%; NHxAS: 60.62%±7.16%; p=0.04; ES=0.23). However, no differences were identified in the posteromedial (HxAS: 105.14%±9.28%; NHxAS: 105.53%±9.77%; p=0.46; ES=0.04) or posterolateral (HxAS: 100.73%±10.56%; NHxAS: 100.83%±10.31%; p=0.52; ES=0.01) directions.
Conclusions Dynamic balance deficits were detected only in the anterior reach direction of athletes with a HxAS. While the between group difference in anterior reach distance was associated with a small-to-medium effect size, these findings may provide support for previous studies which linked this reach direction to lower extremity injury risk. Overall, these results suggest that a residual impairment in dynamic balance is likely present in many athletes with a HxAS.
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