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A Prevention Strategy to Reduce the Incidence of Injury in High School Basketball: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Emery, Carolyn A PhD*; Rose, M Sarah PhD; McAllister, Jenelle R MSc*; Meeuwisse, Willem H MD, PhD*

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2007 - Volume 17 - Issue 1 - p 17-24
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31802e9c05
Original Research

Objective: To examine the effectiveness of a sport-specific balance training program in reducing injury in adolescent basketball.

Design: Cluster randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Twenty-five high schools in Calgary and surrounding area.

Subjects: Nine hundred and twenty high school basketball players (ages 12-18).

Intervention: Subjects were randomly allocated by school to the control (n = 426) and training group (n = 494). Both groups were taught a standardized warm-up program. The training group was also taught an additional warm-up component and a home-based balance training program using a wobble board.

Main Outcome Measures: All injuries occurring during basketball that required medical attention and/or caused a player to be removed from that current session and/or miss a subsequent session were then recorded and assessed by a team therapist who was blinded to training group allocation.

Results: A basketball-specific balance training program was protective of acute-onset injuries in high school basketball [RR = 0.71 (95% CI; 0.5-0.99)]. The protective effect found with respect to all injury [RR = 0.8 (95% CI; 0.57-1.11)], lower-extremity injury [RR = 0.83 (95% CI; 0.57-1.19)], and ankle sprain injury [RR = 0.71 (95% CI; 0.45-1.13)] were not statistically significant. Self-reported compliance to the intended home-based training program was poor (298/494 or 60.3%).

Conclusions: A basketball-specific balance training program was effective in reducing acute-onset injuries in high school basketball. There was also a clinically relevant trend found with respect to the reduction of all, lower-extremity, and ankle sprain injury. Future research should include further development of neuromuscular prevention strategies in addition to further evaluation of methods to increase compliance to an injury-prevention training program in adolescents.

From the *Sport Medicine Centre, Roger Jackson Centre for Health and Wellness Research, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and †Rho-Sigma Scientific Consultants, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Submitted for publication June 19, 2006; Accepted November 10, 2006.

Reprints: CA Emery, Sport Medicine Centre, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N1N4 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.