Background Soccer and basketball have two of the highest rates of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury among United States high school sports. The U.S. National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) position statement on prevention of ACL injuries advises preventive training for soccer and basketball athletes – with a specific emphasis on female athletes.
Objective To determine whether coach-reported use of training activities that meet NATA IPP recommendations varies by sport (basketball or soccer) and sex.
Methods Basketball and soccer coaches from 30 Oregon (USA) high schools were invited to complete an online survey about their team’s activities. Of the 274 coaches contacted, coaches of 32 boys and 28 girls basketball and 25 boys and 31 girls soccer teams responded (42%). Teams were classified as having met the NATA’s IPP recommendations if their coaches reported: 1) providing feedback about correct movement technique, and 2) including activities at least twice per week from ≥3 of the essential exercise categories.
Findings There was significant variation by team on meeting IPP recommendations (X2 =14.34, p=0.002). A greater proportion of boys [80.0% (95% CI: 59.3%–93.2%)] and girls [83.9% (95% CI: 66.3%–94.6%)] soccer teams were classified as meeting IPP recommendations compared to boys basketball teams [43.8% (95% CI: 26.4%–62.3%)]. Though not statistically significant, girls basketball teams [60.7% (95% CI: 40.6%–78.5%)] were more likely than boys basketball and less likely than boys and girls soccer teams to have coaches who reported meeting IPP recommendations.
Conclusion and policy implications Despite greater ACL injury risk in females, sport rather than sex was associated with whether coaches reported meeting IPP recommendations. It may be that widespread acceptance of a sport-specific IPP in the soccer community secondary to deliberate dissemination initiatives by the sport’s governing body may make soccer coaches more likely to have their athletes perform preventive activities or report that they are doing so.
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