Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) remain a hot topic in sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. Balance training has become more popular recently in the prevention of ACL injuries.
A 1996 study by Caraffa and colleagues was done to determine the preventive effect of a pre-season proprioceptive training program using different types of balance boards on ACL injury in soccer players.
600 soccer players were divided by teams into the proprioceptive training group and a control group that continued normal training. The proprioceptive training group trained 20 minutes a day during the pre-season using a 5-phase program with increasing difficulty over 30 days. Download their protocol here.
Both groups were evaluated for ACL injury over 3 seasons. There were significantly less ACL injuries in the group that performed proprioceptive training. Subjects in the normal training group were 7.6 times more likely to injure their ACL compared to the proprioceptive group.
In conclusion, neuromuscular training programs using TheraBand rocker and wobble boards during the pre-season can significantly reduce the risk of ACL injury in soccer players
REFERENCE: Caraffa et al. 1996. Prevention of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Soccer. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, and Arthroscopy. 4:19-21.