Pediatric Sports Injury Prevention: Monitoring Changes Over Time

Project Dates: 07-01-2013 12-31-2015
Region: United States
Research Area: Dissemination and Implementation Science
Exercise Science

Funding Agency: Charles H. Hood Foundation

PI: DiStefano, Lindsay

Status: Completed

"Youth sport-related injury affects millions of children each year resulting in significant health care costs and potential for devastating long-term consequences, such as the early development of osteoarthritis. Exercise-based injury prevention programs performed as a sport warm-up activity can improve neuromuscular control and reduce the rate of lower extremity injuries, including injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The majority of previous research on injury prevention programs has been in adolescent or adult populations. Early intervention with children prior to high school may be critical for improving long-term adoption of injury prevention in sport and preventing future injury. There is a gap in knowledge about how to implement injury prevention programs in children younger than 14 years old with regards to the dosage and type of program needed to modify neuromuscular risk factors for injury.
The long-term objective of this project is to identify the most effective and efficient injury prevention program for children to promote early implementation and widespread adoption of injury prevention programs in youth sports. Specific Aim 1 will compare the effectiveness of a simplified injury prevention program to a traditional program on modifying neuromuscular risk factors for lower extremity injury. Specific Aim 2 will assess the retention of improvements in neuromuscular control over time to evaluate how often injury prevention programs need to be implemented. We propose a cluster-randomized trial of 30 youth soccer teams with approximately 400 participants. Teams will be randomized to receive either the Basic or Traditional injury prevention program prior to soccer activities for 8 weeks, or be in the control group. Measures of neuromuscular control (e.g. movement technique and balance ability) will be assessed immediately before and after completing the intervention period. Two retention assessments will be made two and four months following the intervention period."