OBJECTIVE: The project aimed to implement neuromuscular training during a full soccer and handball league season and to experimentally analyze the neuromuscular adaptation mechanisms elicited by this training during a standardized sidecutting maneuver known to be associated with non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
DESIGN: The players were tested before and after 1 season without implementation of the prophylactic training and subsequently before and after a full season with the implementation of prophylactic training.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 12 female elite soccer players and 8 female elite team handball players aged 26 +/- 3 years at the start of the study.
INTERVENTION: The subjects participated in a specific neuromuscular training program previously shown to reduce non-contact ACL injury.
METHODS: Neuromuscular activity at the knee joint, joint angles at the hip and knee, and ground reaction forces were recorded during a sidecutting maneuver. Neuromuscular activity in the prelanding phase was obtained 10 and 50 ms before foot strike on a force plate and at 10 and 50 ms after foot strike on a force plate.
RESULTS: Neuromuscular training markedly increased before activity and landing activity electromyography (EMG) of the semitendinosus (P < 0.05), while quadriceps EMG activity remained unchanged.
CONCLUSIONS: Neuromuscular training increased EMG activity for the medial hamstring muscles, thereby decreasing the risk of dynamic valgus. This observed neuromuscular adaptation during sidecutting could potentially reduce the risk for non-contact ACL injury.