New York: Programs aimed at preventing knee injuries among soccer players take time to make any lasting impact on the way athletes move, according to a new study.A warm-up program of stretching and strengthening that lasted three months had only a temporary benefit, while the improvements seen after a nine-month program persisted for months after the training ended."Most injury prevention programs are probably for 10 to 12 weeks. Our thought is that if it stops after that point in time, within two to three months, that person is right back to where they began," said Darin Padua, lead author of the study and a professor at the University of North Carolina.He and his team trained coaches for 15 youth soccer leagues to have athletes complete a 15-minute injury prevention program before practice for either three months or nine months.At the beginning and end of the training period, the soccer players took a movement test, in which they leapt off a box, landed on the ground, then jumped straight upwards.The movements during the test are good indicators of whether a person is at risk of hurting the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. For instance, if someone lands with a straight knee or points their toes inward or outward, they are considered to be at a higher risk of tearing the ACL, Padua said.At the end of the training period, all the athletes scored better on the movement test than they did at the beginning of the study.The players typically had about five or six errors on the movement test before the training, and three to four errors after the training. Padua said a score of five or above is typically the threshold for being at risk for an ACL injury.
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