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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Injury Prevention Programs

During the 2013-2014 academic year, high school athletes suffered more than 300,000 lower-limb injuries requiring medical attention and suspension of play for at least one day (according to the Colorado School of Public Health Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research Program).

Yet a recent study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport claims that only a mere 10 percent of high school coaches have adopted Injury Prevention Programs (IPP) to reduce these types of injuries.

A solid IPP might include 15 to 20 minutes of stretching and strengthening exercises for hips, legs and thighs, along with jump-training to practice soft landings and minimize impact to the knees. The exercises are meant to be done three to four times a week before a practice or games.

This recent study involved 66 head coaches of basketball and soccer teams at 15 different high schools in Oregon. The online survey gauged their knowledge, attitude, and behavior regarding IPPs.

Highlights include:
  • 14 coaches reported using one of the IPPs, with six claiming they implemented the IPP exactlly as designed.
  • Coaches of girls' teams reported to be more aware of IPPs than coaches of boys' teams.
  • Coaches who did not use an IPP said the programs offered no advantage to their current training methods, were not compatible with their needs, or seemed difficult to implement.
Most exercises in an IPP have been developed to decrease serious injuries like ACL/Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears, but they are also helpful in reducing more common ones such as sprains and muscle strains.

Coaches interested in implementing an IPP for their team are encouraged to check with health care providers, such as orthopedic specialists, to learn about what type of program would most benefit their young athletes.

(Adapted from Reuters Health)

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