Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether a six-week proprioceptive training programme modified the risk factors of ankle injury in University level netball players.
Participants: Twenty-four healthy, trained females from the University of Lincoln Netball Club volunteered to participate in this study, which was ethically approved by the University of Lincoln before completion. The participants were informed of all risks, requirements and potential benefits of the study, and gave informed consent to partake.
Method: Participants executed three performance tests: Y-Balance Excursion Test (YBET), Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and Single Leg Hop for Distance (SLHD). After pretesting, participants were assigned randomly to either the Experimental Group (EG) or the Control Group (CG). The CG continued their usual training for six weeks and the EG completed a proprioceptive training programme (PTP) once-per-week for six weeks alongside their usual training. Both groups recorded all training executed within the six weeks in a training log. Both groups then undertook the same three performance tests for post-testing.
Results: Scores achieved by the EG significantly improved for the YBET on both legs (Left: 6.7 %; Right: 8.9 %), BESS (29 %) and SLHD on the left leg (6.8 %), showing that overall ankle injury risk was reduced. The Two-Way Mixed ANOVA revealed no significant improvements for the SLHD on the right leg for EG or CG, but significant differences between the EG and CG for the YBET on both legs, BESS and SLHD on the left leg (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: A six-week low-effort PTP enhances overall balance and joint stability thereby reducing the risk of ankle injury. This study provides support for proprioceptive training as a method of training effective for reducing ankle injury in University level netball players.
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