Context: Poor balance has been associated with increased injury risk among athletes. Neuromuscular-training programs have been advocated as a means of injury prevention, but little is known about the benefits of these programs on balance in high school athletes.
Objective: To determine whether there are balance gains after participation in a neuromuscular-training program in high school athletes.
Design: Nonrandomized controlled trial.
Setting: All data were collected at each participating high school before and after a 6-wk intervention or control period.
Participants: 62 female high school basketball players recruited from the local high school community and assigned to a training (n = 37) or control (n = 25) group.
Intervention: Training-group subjects participated in a 6-wk neuromuscular-training program that included plyometric, functional-strengthening, balance, and stability-ball exercises.
Main outcome measures: Data were collected for the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) before and after the 6-wk intervention or control period.
Results: The authors found a significant decrease in total BESS errors in the trained group at the posttest compared with their pretest and the control group (P = .003). Trained subjects also scored significantly fewer BESS errors on the single-foam and tandem-foam conditions at the posttest than the control group and demonstrated improvements on the single-foam compared with their pretest (P = .033). The authors found improvements in reach in the lateral, anteromedial, medial, and posterior directions in the trained group at the posttest compared with the control group (P < .05) using the SEBT.
Conclusion: The study demonstrates that a neuromuscular-training program can increase the balance and proprioceptive capabilities of female high school basketball players and that clinical balance measures are sensitive to detect these differences.