Integrated injury prevention program improves balance and vertical jump height in children.
Implementing an injury prevention program to athletes under age 12 years may reduce injury rates. There is limited knowledge regarding whether these young athletes will be able to modify balance and performance measures after completing a traditional program that has been effective with older athletes or whether they require a specialized program for their age. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a pediatric program, which was designed specifically for young athletes, and a traditional program with no program in the ability to change balance and performance measures in youth athletes. We used a cluster-randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of the programs before and after a 9-week intervention period. Sixty-five youth soccer athletes (males: n = 37 mass = 34.16 +/- 5.36 kg, height = 143.07 +/- 6.27 cm, age = 10 +/- 1 yr; females: n = 28 mass = 33.82 +/- 5.37 kg, height = 141.02 +/- 6.59 cm) volunteered to participate and attended 2 testing sessions in a research laboratory. Teams were cluster-randomized to either a pediatric or traditional injury prevention program or a control group. Change scores for anterior-posterior and medial-lateral time-to-stabilization measures and maximum vertical jump height and power were calculated from pretest and post-test sessions. Contrary with our original hypotheses, the traditional program resulted in positive changes, whereas the pediatric program did not result in any improvements. Anterior-posterior time-to-stabilization decreased after the traditional program (mean change +/- SD = -0.92 +/- 0.49 s) compared with the control group (-0.49 +/- 0.59 s) (p = 0.003). The traditional program also increased vertical jump height (1.70 +/- 2.80 cm) compared with the control group (0.20 +/- 0.20 cm) (p = 0.04). There were no significant differences between control and pediatric programs. Youth athletes can improve balance ability and vertical jump height after completing an injury prevention program. Training specificity appears to affect improvements and should be considered with future program design.
DiStefano, LJ; Padua, DA; Blackburn, JT; Garrett, WE; Guskiewicz, KM; Marshall, SW
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