Using a wearable neuromuscular device can reduce the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in female soccer athletes, according to new research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs.
The study showed functional improvements in athletes who used the devices in combination with a regular training program.
A total of 79 elite youth and collegiate female soccer players ranging in age from 12 to 25 trained with a wearable neuromuscular (WNM) device that applied bi-lateral, topical pressure to the medial quadriceps and hamstring muscles.
The athletes performed seven to nine weeks of pre-season training with the device consisting of strength and conditioning exercises and on-field team practices.
The study showed that training with a WNM device improved postural control in athletes, without limiting performance, according to the researchers, who pointed out that no athletes in the study experienced an ACL injury during training or over the course of the following season.
“Research has shown female soccer players have a three times greater risk of ACL injury compared to males, yet only a small portion of soccer coaches are currently utilizing ACL injury risk reduction programs,” Michael John Decker, PhD, from the University of Denver, said. “We hope these devices offer coaches a practical means to overcome participation barriers, opening the door for more organizations and teams to implement similar programs.”
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine works with athletic trainers, physical therapists, family physicians, and others to improve the identification, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries.