MONDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Neuromuscular warm-ups may reduce knee injuries among female high school athletes, a new study indicates.
In neuromuscular warm-up, an athlete begins with easy cardiovascular exercise and progresses to focusing on muscles and motions used in the sport.
The study included 90 coaches and almost 1,500 female basketball and soccer players from public schools in Chicago. Half the coaches were trained in 20-minute neuromuscular warm-up and used that method with their teams (intervention group) before practices and games, while the other coaches and their teams used current standard warm-up methods (control group).
The athletes were followed through the 2006-07 season. There were 50 lower extremity injuries among the 737 athletes in the intervention group and 96 lower extremity injuries among the 755 athletes in the control group.
Two lower extremity injuries were suffered by two athletes in the intervention group and 13 athletes in the control group.
All non-contact lower extremity injuries that required surgery occurred in the control group.
The study was published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
"These findings suggest that neuromuscular training should be routine in girls' high school soccer and basketball," Dr. Cynthia R. LaBella, of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues said in a journal news release.
They noted that injury rates in girls' high school sports are highest in soccer (2.36 per 1,000 athletes) and basketball (2.01 per 1,000).
"Knee injuries are the most common cause of permanent disability in female high school basketball players, accounting for up to 91 percent of season-ending injuries and 94 percent of injuries requiring surgery," the study authors wrote.
Damage to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) of the knee, which is f
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