Dr Éanna Falvey evaluates neuromuscular training programmes for ACL injuries.

Research on all the studies carried out on neuromuscular training to prevent ACL injuries was broken down into three groups; those that had no training, that university-trained and those screened for high-risk injury, and then trained.

The aim of the research was to determine if it might be less expensive to identify high-risk athletes and treat them rather than treating the population as a whole.

A correlation of all the studies showed that it is probably more cost-efficient to introduce a neuromuscular training programme to the general population rather than spending the money identifying those at a higher risk.

The research also showed that the more input and interaction that occurs in an athlete’s coaching, the better they will perform.

In a situation where there is live feedback and the programme is explained properly, the athlete will see more benefit.

A meta-analysis of the data out there showed there is a dose-response between neuromuscular training and reduction in the risk factors for ACL injuries, so much so that over a 12-week course in neuro-muscular training, a significant decrease in risk factors for an ACL injury can be attained.

However when the training stops the risk factors creep back in ensuring that not only is there a need to perform the work, but also a requirement to stay at it.

One solution to these is ensuring that coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, trainers or doctors can all deliver the programme.

All groups involved in programmes saw an improvement, or a decrease, in their risk of ACL while it was noted that the harder an athlete worked or the more compliant they were the better they did.

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