What are we trying to find out?
We are evaluating how effective a neuromuscular training program (a type of training that includes aerobic, strength, balance, agility, and plyometric exercises) is at preventing sport and recreational injuries and improving health and fitness. Physical education teachers from schools that are participating in the study include this training program as a warm-up at the beginning of their physical education classes over a 3-month period.
Who can participate?
Grade 7, 8, and 9 students from 12 junior high schools in Calgary.
Why are we doing this research?
Approximately two-thirds of youth are injured playing sports or doing recreational activities. Previous studies have shown that a neuromuscular training warm-up program is effective at reducing injuries in certain sports, such as soccer.
A pilot study (that included two schools) has demonstrated that this type of program is also effective when used in junior high school physical education classes. We are now evaluating this program on a larger scale, by including more schools across the city.
What are participants doing?
Teachers receive a workshop to learn about the warm-up program. They have students complete this warm-up in their physical education classes. An athletic therapist visits each of the schools every week to assess any sport or recreational injuries that students get during the time that they are participating in the study. Participating students go through baseline health and fitness testing at the beginning of the study, and again three months later at the end of the study. Teachers and students participate in focus groups to provide feedback on how well the program fits in their class.