Effectiveness of a home-based balance-training program in reducing sports-related injuries among healthy adolescents: a cluster randomized controlled trial

Emery, Carolyn A.; Cassidy, J. David; Klassen, Terry P.; Rosychuk, Rhonda J.; Rowe, Brian H.
March 2005
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;3/15/2005, Vol. 172 Issue 6, p749
Academic Journal
Background: Sport is the leading cause of injury requiring medical attention among adolescents. We studied the effectiveness of a home-based balance-training program using a wobble board in improving static and dynamic balance and reducing sports-related injuries among healthy adolescents. Methods: In this cluster randomized controlled trial, we randomly selected 10 of 15 high schools in Calgary to participate in the fall of 2001. We then recruited students from physical education classes and randomly assigned them, by school, to either the intervention (n = 66) or the control (n = 61) group. Students in the intervention group participated in a daily 6-week and then a weekly 6-month home-based balance-training program using a wobble board. Students at the control schools received testing only. The primary outcome measures were timed static and dynamic balance, 20-m shuttle run and vertical jump, which were measured at baseline and biweekly for 6 weeks. Self-reported injury data were collected over the 6-month follow-up period. Results: At 6 weeks, improvements in static and dynamic balance were observed in the intervention group but not in the control group (difference in static balance 20.7 seconds, 95% confidence interval [CI] 10.8 to 30.6 seconds; difference in dynamic balance 2.3 seconds, 95% CI 0.7 to 4.0 seconds). There was evidence of a protective effect of balance training in over 6 months (relative risk of injury 0.2, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.88). The number needed to treat to avoid 1 injury over 6 months was 8 (95% CI 4 to 35). Interpretation: Balance training using a wobble board is effective in improving static and dynamic balance and reducing sports-related injuries among healthy adolescents.


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