Neuromuscular retraining intervention programs: do they reduce noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury rates in adolescent female athletes?

Frank R Noyes, Sue D Barber-Westin
Arthroscopy 2014, 30 (2): 245-55

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify neuromuscular training intervention programs that significantly reduced the incidence of noncontact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury rates in female adolescent athletes.

METHODS: A systematic search of PubMed was conducted to determine the outcome of ACL neuromuscular retraining programs in a specific population. The inclusion criteria were English language, published from 1994-2013, original clinical trials, all evidence levels, female athletes aged 19 years or younger, and noncontact ACL injury incidence rates determined by athlete-exposures.

RESULTS: Of 694 articles identified, 8 met the inclusion criteria. Three training programs significantly reduced noncontact ACL injury incidence rates in female adolescent athletes. These were the Sportsmetrics, Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance, and Knee Injury Prevention programs. The estimated number of athletes who needed to train to prevent 1 ACL injury in these 3 studies ranged from 70 to 98, and the relative risk reduction ranged from 75% to 100%. Five programs did not significantly reduce noncontact ACL injury incidence rates. The ACL injury incidence rates for control subjects were lower in these studies (0.03 to 0.08 per 1,000 athlete-exposures) than in those investigations that had a significant effect (0.21 to 0.49 per 1,000 athlete-exposures). There was wide variability among all programs in the frequency, duration, and timing of training; how training was conducted, supervised, or controlled; the components of the program; how exposure data were calculated; noncontact ACL injury incidence rates in the control groups; and compliance with training.

CONCLUSIONS: Three ACL intervention programs successfully reduced noncontact ACL injury incidence rates in female adolescent athletes. Pooling of data of all ACL intervention programs is not recommended because of numerous methodologic differences among studies.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II, systematic review of Level I and II studies.

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