Impact Study: Neuromuscular Training Reduces the Burden of Injuries and Costs
Compared to Standard Warm-Up in Youth Soccer

DA, Lopatina E, Lacny S, & Emery CA. 
Br J Sports Med. Published
First: March 10, 2016. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-095666

Take Home Message: A neuromuscular injury prevention program
reduces injuries and health care costs among female youth soccer players. 

have had several posts on Sports Med Res
about the effectiveness of neuromuscular warm ups to prevent injuries. However,
we still need to determine the cost effectiveness of these warm-up programs to
help estimate the potential financial impact of injury prevention.  Therefore, the authors of this cluster
randomized study aimed to evaluate the cost effectiveness of a neuromuscular
warm-up program in comparison to a standard warm up in youth soccer
players.  Sixty youth female soccer teams
(aged 13-18) were randomized to either the neuromuscular warm up (32 teams) or
standard warm up (28 teams).  The authors
evaluated injury incidence and direct healthcare cost in youth female soccer
players over the course of a season.  When
calculating costs, the authors based the cost of the neuromuscular warm-up
program on the cost of equipment and time required for training sessions. They
confirmed that there was a 38% decrease in injuries within the neuromuscular
training group compared with the standard warm up group.  This led to the neuromuscular training group
having 43% less direct healthcare costs than the standard warm-up group. The
authors projected that these numbers could be extrapolated to all youth soccer
players in Alberta Canada and result in over $2.7 million in healthcare savings
per season (> $46.50 saved per player per season; 2014 Canadian dollars).

findings of this study are interesting because these authors not only confirm
that injury prevention programs can work, but they reported a large financial benefit.  Each country has different health care
systems, but regardless of where you go, financial costs are becoming
excessive.  These authors not only
confirm that injury prevention programs can reduce injuries, but that there is
a significantly lower health care cost associated with this.  A famous Benjamin Franklin quote is “An ounce
of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 
With a small investment of time, and limited resources – there can be
potentially a very large financial impact. 
The estimates from this study complement a
recent study where the authors found that an injury
prevention program may save $100 per player per season (US dollars) when we
only consider anterior cruciate ligament injuries. The new study provides us
with more accurate data and information about any injury in soccer. It would
also be interesting to look at the mental effects of injury on quality of
life.  Quality of life cannot be measured
financially, but injuries are known to have negative effects psychosocially on
athletes.  Furthermore, it would be
interesting to know the long-term cost savings of injury prevention programs
because injuries can have long-term effects on an athlete’s physical and mental
health and ability to work. Previous researchers have shown that prevention
programs can improve performance measures, there are minimal negative effects,
they reduce injuries, and save money.  Clinical
bottom line is that there seems to be all positive aspects, and few negative
aspects of integrating injury prevention programs. 

for Discussion:  What are some barriers
to implementation of injury prevention programs?  Are there any other points that you think
need to be clarified surrounding injury prevention programs?

Nicole Cattano
by: Jeffrey Driban



Osteoarthritis Action Alliance’s Consensus Opinion for Best Practice Features of Lower Limb Injury Prevention Programs (LLIPP)

Marshall, D., Lopatina, E., Lacny, S., & Emery, C. (2016). Economic impact study: neuromuscular training reduces the burden of injuries and costs compared to standard warm-up in youth soccer British Journal of Sports Medicine DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095666