Universal Neuromuscular Training Can Prevent ACL Harm

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Universal Neuromuscular Training Can Prevent ACL Harm
Universal Neuromuscular Training Can Prevent ACL Harm

(HealthDay News) — Neuromuscular training of all young athletes represents an effective strategy for reducing costs and morbidity from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, according to a study published in the May 7 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Eric Swart, MD, from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues evaluated the cost-effectiveness of three strategies 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 informed the risk of injury, risk reduction from training, and sensitivity and specificity of screening used in the models.

The researchers found that universal neuromuscular training of all athletes was the dominant strategy, with better outcomes and lower costs compared with screening. Implementation of a universal training program would save, on average, $100 per player per season, and would reduce the incidence of ACL injury from 3 to 1.1% per season. Screening was not cost-effective within the range of reported sensitivity and specificity values.

"While continued innovations on inexpensive and accurate screening methods to identify high-risk athletes remain of interest, improving existing training protocols and implementing neuromuscular training into routine training for all young athletes is warranted," the authors write.

At least one author, or their institution, disclosed financial ties to an entity in the biomedical arena.

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