Training Programs the Most Cost-Effective Way to Reduce ACL Injuries in Teen Athletes

Research led by doctors from NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center finds that universal neuromuscular training—which focuses on the optimal way to bend, jump, land, and pivot the knee—is an effective and inexpensive way for adolescent athletes to avoid anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains and tears. The findings were presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) on March 14, 2014.

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New York, NY (PRWEB) March 25, 2014

Researchers from NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center find that neuromuscular training programs can save $275 per player, per season.

Research led by doctors from NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center finds that universal neuromuscular training—which focuses on the optimal way to bend, jump, land, and pivot the knee—is an effective and inexpensive way for adolescent athletes to avoid anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains and tears. The findings were presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) on March 14, 2014.

The ACL is a critical ligament that stabilizes the knee joint. ACL injuries are common among young athletes and represent a significant source of morbidity and financial expense. Such injuries have become more prevalent over the past decade, as more children and adolescents participate in sports such as soccer, volleyball, and basketball.

ACL injuries often require surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation before an athlete can return to sports and other activities. Recent research has found that screening tools, such as “hop” or isokinetic (computer/video) tests to identify neuromuscular deficits, may identify athletes more likely to suffer ACL injuries. Additionally, biomechanical studies have led to the development of neuromuscular training programs to improve neuromuscular control and reduce ACL injury rates.

The research team evaluated three strategies for young athletes: no training or screening, universal neuromuscular training, and universal screening with neuromuscular training only for identified high-risk athletes. Risk of injury, risk reduction from training, and sensitivity and specificity of screening were based on published data from clinical trials. Costs of training and screening programs were estimated based on existing literature.

Using a model based on data from recent clinical trials, the researchers evaluated a hypothetical cohort of student athletes ages 14 to 22. They found that universal training reduced the incidence of ACL injury on average by 63 percent (from 3 to 1.1 percent per season), while the screening program reduced the incidence rate on average by 40 percent (from 3 to 1.8 percent). Of 10,000 athletes, the model predicted 300 ACL injuries in the no-screening group, 110 in the universal training group, and 180 in the universal training/screening for “at risk” group.

From these results, the researchers concluded that universal training is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing ACL injury risk, saving an average of $275 per player per season.

“While we were not surprised that training was more cost effective than no intervention, we were impressed by the magnitude of the benefit,” said Dr. Eric Swart, an orthopedic resident at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and lead researcher in the study. “According to our model, training was so much less expensive and so much more effective than we anticipated. In addition, fewer players injured means fewer surgical reconstruction procedures, which also saves money. The research suggests that widely implementing a universal training strategy could actually pay for itself in terms of injuries prevented and surgeries avoided, which makes a very appealing case for primary prevention.” Dr. Swart declares no financial or other conflicts of interest.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. For more information, visit cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive hospitals, with some 2,600 beds. In 2012, the Hospital had nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits, including 12,758 deliveries and 275,592 visits to its emergency departments. NewYork-Presbyterian’s 6,144 affiliated physicians and 20,154 staff provide state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at six major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation’s leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit http://www.nyp.org.

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    NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
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