(HealthDay News) — Neuromuscular training of all young athletes is a cost-effective strategy for reducing the costs and morbidity associated with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from March 11–15 in New Orleans.

Eric F. Swart, MD, from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues evaluated three strategies to prevent ACL injuries for a population of young athletes participating in organized sports: no training or screening; universal neuromuscular training; and universal screening, with neuromuscular training for identified high-risk athletes only. Published data from clinical trials were used to determine sensitivity and specificity of screening, cost of screening/training, risk of injury, and risk reduction from training.

The researchers found that the most cost-effective strategy was universal neuromuscular training of all athletes. The implementation of a universal training program would, on average, save $275 per player per season, and would reduce the incidence of ACL injury from 0.03 to 0.011 per player per season. Using the range of reported sensitivity and specificity values, screening was not deemed cost-effective.

“Given its low cost and ease of implementation, neuromuscular training of all young athletes represents a cost-effective strategy for reducing costs and morbidity from ACL injuries,” the authors write.

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