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Poor balance has been associated with increased injury risk among athletes. Neuromuscular-training programs have been advocated as a means of injury prevention, but little is known about the benefits of these programs on balance in high school athletes.
To determine whether there are balance gains after participation in a neuromuscular-training program in high school athletes.
Nonrandomized controlled trial.
All data were collected at each participating high school before and after a 6-wk intervention or control period.
62 female high school basketball players recruited from the local high school community and assigned to a training (n = 37) or control (n = 25) group.
Training-group subjects participated in a 6-wk neuromuscular-training program that included plyo- metric, functional-strengthening, balance, and stability-ball exercises.
Main Outcome Measures:
Data were collected for the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) before and after the 6-wk intervention or control period.
The authors found a significant decrease in total BESS errors in the trained group at the posttest compared with their pretest and the control group (P = .003). Trained subjects also scored significantly fewer BESS errors on the single-foam and tandem-foam conditions at the posttest than the control group and demonstrated improvements on the single-foam compared with their pretest (P = .033). The authors found improvements in reach in the lateral, anteromedial, medial, and posterior directions in the trained group at the posttest compared with the control group (P < .05) using the SEBT.
The study demonstrates that a neuromuscular-training program can increase the balance and proprioceptive capabilities of female high school basketball players and that clinical balance measures are sensitive to detect these differences.
Valovich McLeod is with the Athletic Training Program, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ. Armstrong is with Catawba College, Salisbury, NC. Miller is with Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV. Sauers is a physical therapist in Scottsdale, AZ.