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A Review of Field-Based Assessments of Neuromuscular Control and Their Utility in Male Youth Soccer Players

Read, Paul J.1,2; Oliver, Jon L.3,4; De Ste Croix, Mark B.A.5; Myer, Gregory D.6,7,8,9; Lloyd, Rhodri S.3,4,10

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 283–299
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002069
Brief Review

Read, PJ, Oliver, JL, Croix, MS, Myer, GD, and Lloyd, RS. A review of field-based assessments of neuromuscular control and their utility in male youth soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 33(1): 283–299, 2019—Lower-extremity injuries in male youth soccer are common and equate to a substantial time loss from training and competitions during the course of a season. Extended periods of absence will impact player involvement in skill and physical development activities, as well as participation in competitive match play. Neuromuscular risk factors for lower-extremity injury in male youth soccer players can be categorized into quadriceps dominance, leg dominance, ligament dominance, trunk dominance, and reduced dynamic stability. Valid screening methods to identify risk factors that are practically viable are needed for youth athletes who may be at a greater risk of injury in soccer. Although field-based tests of neuromuscular control provide a reliable option for the assessment of injury risk in adults and females, less data are available in male youth soccer players, and further research is required to examine their ability to predict injury risk. This article provides a review of the current literature pertaining to field-based screening tests and critically appraises their suitability for use with male youth soccer players. Currently, the only method that has been validated in male youth soccer players is the landing error scoring system. Asymmetrical anterior reach measured during the Y-Balance test may also be considered because of its strong predictive ability in male youth basketball players; however, further research is required to fully support its use with soccer players.

1School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary's University, London, United Kingdom;

2Athlete Health and Performance Research Center, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar;

3Youth Physical Development Unit, School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom;

4Sport Performance Research Institute, New Zealand (SPRINZ), AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand;

5School of Sport and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom;

6Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio;

7Department of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio;

8The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Boston, Massachusetts;

9Department of Orthopaedics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and

10Center for Sport Science and Human Performance, Waikato Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Address correspondence to Paul J. Read,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.