Leg Strengthening Programs Can Reduce Knee Injury Rate in Athletes

Leg Strengthening Programs Can Reduce Knee Injury Rate in Athletes – Conference Highlights

(North American Primary Care Research Group) Effective lower extremity strengthening programs can significantly reduce the rate of knee injuries in high school athletes, according to a study that included all varsity football players at seven high schools in San Antonio (298 athletes). Baseline data were collected on height, weight, 40-yd sprint speed, lower extremity strength (ability to perform a maximal squat), school size and socioeconomic status of the school population. Injury surveillance data were obtained weekly throughout the football season. Performance measures were repeated at the end of the season. The injury rate was inversely correlated with the mean squat strength. The athletes at schools with overall strength gains through the season showed a strong trend toward lower knee injury rates than athletes at schools with strength losses (6.1 percent versus 11.1 percent). Among schools with lower socioeconomic status, the athletes at schools with strength gains demonstrated significantly lower knee injury rates than athletes at schools with strength losses (5.7 percent versus 18.7 percent). The athletes at schools with strength losses through the season were four times more likely to sustain a knee injury than athletes at schools with strength gains. The investigators believe that family physicians who are team physicians should educate coaches, athletes and athletic trainers about the importance of programs to maintain and increase lower extremity strength in preventing knee injuries.-walter l. calmbach, m.d., et al., University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.

COPYRIGHT 1999 American Academy of Family Physicians

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