Neuromuscular Training Reduces ACL Injury Risk in Adolescent Athletes

Research reported at the 2014 AAOS Annual Meeting concluded that universal neuromuscular training for young athletes can be an effective and inexpensive way to avoid ACL sprains and tears. The research also found that screening tools, such as isokinetic tests to identify neuromuscular deficits, may reduce ACL injuries among high-risk athletes.

The modeling study evaluated a hypothetical cohort of 10,000 student athletes ages 14 to 22. Universal training reduced the incidence of ACL injury by 63%, while the screening program for at-risk athletes reduced the incidence rate by 40%. The study concluded that universal training would save an average of $275 per player per season when compared to estimated ACL reconstruction costs.

“Use of both preventative measures and screening tools sounds appealing, but often there are significant financial, administrative and social hurdles that have to be overcome before they can be implemented on a widespread level,” cautioned lead study author Eric F. Swart, MD, an orthopaedic resident at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

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