Benefits of neuromuscular training programs for athlete injury prevention
Did you know that each year, 4 million school-aged children will suffer a sports related injury? Of these, upwards of 400,000 are knee injuries. For a parent, practitioner, coach, and especially athlete, these statistics are alarming. We know that sports injuries can affect just about every aspect of a young athlete’s life from physical to mental health. What’s more, the financial burden of an injury can be incredibly costly to families. So, what’s being done to alleviate the problem? Studies show that neuromuscular training programs (NMTPs) are beneficial in helping athletes prevent knee injuries. While the term “exercise program” can feel daunting, NMTPs can be easily performed at home, with limited time and with no equipment at all.
Neuromuscular training focuses on performing exercises that train the muscles and nerves to communicate with each other. When muscles and nerves communicate, our bodies move and use strength and balance to support the movement safely. For example, when landing from a jump, muscles contract to help the body stabilize. NMPTs are comprised of a combination of balance, strength, plyometric and agility exercises. Some of these exercises could include squats, shuttle runs, squat jumps and sit ups. They are designed to not only increase the strength of the knee joint but to also increase the athlete’s awareness of proper balance and exercise technique. A 2018 study found that implementing a NMTP among middle and high school age athletes for just 10 minutes twice a week decreased injury rates by more than 50%!
So, whether you’re an athlete or supporting athletes, neuromuscular training programs are an easy and effective addition to rehab, practice, or game day warmups! Click here to learn more about preventing sports injuries with NMPTs!
- Adirim TA, Cheng TL. . Overview of injuries in the young athlete. Sports Med. 2003; 33 1: 75– 81.
- Foss KDB, Thomas S, Khoury JC, Myer GD, Hewett TE. A School-Based Neuromuscular Training Program and Sport-Related Injury Incidence: A Prospective Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. J Athl Train. 2018 Jan;53(1):20-28. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-173-16. Epub 2018 Jan 13. PMID: 29332470; PMCID: PMC5800723.
- Myer, G. D., Faigenbaum, A. D., Ford, K. R., Best, T. M., Bergeron, M. F., and Hewett, T. E. (2011b). When to initiate integrative neuromuscular training to reduce sports-related injuries and enhance health in youth? Curr. Sports Med. Rep. 10, 155–166. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31821b1442
- Stewart MA, Waite LA, Jayawickrema JG, Almonroeder TG. Neuromuscular training programs predominantly include instructions that promote an internal focus. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2021 Jul;61(7):1020-1026. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11505-6. PMID: 34296842.