Epidemiological data demonstrate the need for lower-extremity injury-prevention training. Neuromuscularcontrol (NMC) programs are immediately effective at minimizing lower-extremity injury risk and improving sport-related performance measures. Research investigating lasting effects after an injury-prevention program is limited.
To determine whether dynamic balance, landing mechanics, and hamstring and quadriceps strength could be improved after a 6-wk NMC intervention and maintained for a season.
Prospective case series.
11 Division I women’s basketball players (age 19.40 ± 1.35 y, height 178.05 ± 7.52 cm, mass 72.86 ± 10.70 kg).
Subjects underwent testing 3 times, completing the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), Landing Error Scoring System (LESS), and isometric strength testing for the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles. Pretest and posttest 1 occurred immediately before and after the intervention, respectively, and posttest 2 at the end of the competitive season, 9 mo after posttest 1. Subjects participated in eighteen 30-min plyometric and NMC-training sessions over a 6-wk period.
Main Outcome Measures:
The normalized SEBT composite score, normalized peak isometric hamstrings:quadriceps (H:Q) ratio, and the LESS total score.
The mean composite reach significantly improved over time (F 2,10 = 6.96, P = .005) where both posttest scores were significantly higher than pretest (70.41% ± 4.08%) (posttest 1 73.48% ± 4.19%, t 10 = –3.11, P = .011) and posttest 2 (74.2% ± 4.77%, t 10 = –3.78, P = .004). LESS scores significantly improved over time (F 2,10 = 6.29, P = .009). The pretest LESS score (7.30 ± 3.40) was higher than posttest 1 (4.9 ± 1.20, t 10 = 2.71, P = .024) and posttest 2 (5.44 ± 1.83, t 10 = 2.58, P = .030). There were no statistically significant differences (P > .05) over time for the H:Q ratio when averaging both legs (F 2,10 = 0.83, P = .45).
A 6-wk NMC program improved landing mechanics and dynamic balance over a 9-mo period in women’s basketball players. NMC adaptations can be retained without an in-season maintenance program.