Medial collateral ligament knee sprains in college football. Effectiveness of preventive braces

Am J Sports Med. Jan-Feb 1994;22(1):12-8. doi: 10.1177/036354659402200103.


This is the second of 2 articles on a 3-year investigation of medial collateral ligament sprains of the knee to assess the effectiveness of prophylactic knee braces in NCAA Division I college football players. Position, string, type of session, and daily brace wear were recorded. The injury rates for braced and unbraced knees were used to create an incidence density ratio. The data were stratified and simultaneously controlled for position, string, and session and evaluated for their statistical significance. The 987 Big Ten players generated 155,772 knee exposures over the study period (50% braced). Noticeable differences existed in the rates of injury for the braced and unbraced knees in almost every position during practices, depending on player or nonplayer status. When the influential factors of position, string, and session are considered, there is a consistent but not statistically significant tendency for the players wearing preventive knee braces to experience a lower injury rate than for their unbraced counterparts. For starters and substitutes in the line positions, as well as the linebackers and tight ends, there was a consistent trend toward a lower injury rate in both practices and games. The braced players in the skill positions (backs/kickers), at least during games, exhibited a higher injury rate.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Braces / classification
  • Braces / statistics & numerical data*
  • Football / classification
  • Football / injuries*
  • Football / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Medial Collateral Ligament, Knee / injuries*
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology*
  • Sprains and Strains / prevention & control