Objective: To examine a school-based high-intensity neuromuscular training (NMT) program in reducing sport injury risk and improving fitness in youth.
Participants: Students (ages 11-15) (n = 725) in physical education (PE) classes were randomized by school to intervention or control groups.
Intervention: A 12-week high-intensity NMT program (including aerobic, strength, balance, and agility components) was designed to reduce sport injury risk and improve measures of fitness. The control program was a standard of practice warm-up (including running and stretching).
Results: A Poisson regression model using an intent-to-treat analysis demonstrated a reduced risk of sport injury: incidence rate ratio (IRR)all injury = 0.30 (95% CI, 0.19-0.49), IRRlower extremity injury = 0.31 (95% CI, 0.19-0.51), IRRankle sprain injury = 0.27 (95% CI, 0.15-0.50), and IRRknee sprain injury = 0.36 (95% CI, 0.13-0.98). A change in waist circumference: -0.99 centimeters (95% CI, -1.84 to -0.14) and an increase in indirect measures of aerobic fitness: 1.28 mL·kg·min (95% CI, 0.66-1.90) in the intervention school compared with the control school also occurred.
Conclusions: A NMT program in junior high school PE class was efficacious in reducing sport-related injury and improving measures of adiposity and fitness in the intervention group.