Background: Female athletes have a higher risk of anterior cruciate ligament injury than their male counterparts who play at similar levels in sports involving pivoting and landing.
Hypothesis: The competitive female basketball players who participated in a sports injury prevention training program would show better muscle strength and flexibility and improved biomechanical properties associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury than during the pretraining period and than posttraining parameters in a control group.
Study design: Controlled laboratory study.
Methods: A total of 22 high school female basketball players were recruited and randomly divided into 2 groups (the experimental group and the control group, 11 participants each). The experimental group was instructed in the 6 parts of the sports injury prevention training program and performed it during the first 20 minutes of team practice for the next 8 weeks, while the control group performed their regular training program. Both groups were tested with a rebound-jump task before and after the 8-week period. A total of 21 reflective markers were placed in preassigned positions. In this controlled laboratory study, a 2-way analysis of variance (2 x 2) experimental design was used for the statistical analysis (P < .05) using the experimental group and a testing session as within and between factors, respectively. Post hoc tests with Sidak correction were used when significant factor effects and/or interactions were observed.
Results: A comparison of the experimental group's pretraining and posttraining results identified training effects on all strength parameters (P = .004 to .043) and on knee flexion, which reflects increased flexibility (P = .022). The experimental group showed higher knee flexion angles (P = .024), greater interknee distances (P = .004), lower hamstring-quadriceps ratios (P = .023), and lower maximum knee extension torques (P = .043) after training. In the control group, no statistical differences were observed between pretraining and posttraining findings (P = .084 to .873). At pretraining, no significant differences were observed between the 2 groups for any parameter (P = .067 to .784). However, a comparison of the 2 groups after training revealed that the experimental group had significantly higher knee flexion angles (P = .023), greater knee distances (P = .005), lower hamstring-quadriceps ratios (P = .021), lower maximum knee extension torques (P = .124), and higher maximum knee abduction torques P (= .043) than the control group.
Conclusion: The sports injury prevention training program improved the strength and flexibility of the competitive female basketball players tested and biomechanical properties associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury as compared with pretraining parameters and with posttraining parameters in the control group.
Clinical relevance: This injury prevention program could potentially modify the flexibility, strength, and biomechanical properties associated with ACL injury and lower the athlete's risk for injury.