2015 ISAKOS Biennial Congress ePoster #2111

Neuromuscular Upper Limb Training Significantly Reduces Major Shoulder Injury Rate in Elite Rugby League Players

John Joseph Maguire, FRACS, Townsville, QLD AUSTRALIA
Steven Sartori, FACP, Townsville, QLD AUSTRALIA
Chris Ball, FRACGP, MSpM, Townsville, QLD AUSTRALIA
Melanie Jane Keen, B nursing JCU, Townsville, Queensland AUSTRALIA
Jon Crawley, BPhys, Townsville, QLD AUSTRALIA

North Queensland Cowboys Rugby League Club, Sports Clinic NQ, Townsville Orthopaedics and Sports Surgery , Townsville, QLD, AUSTRALIA

FDA Status Not Applicable

Summary: Specific neuromuscular shoulder training seems able to substantially reduce major shoulder injury rates in elite level rugby league players

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Abstract:

Background

Major shoulder injuries are common in elite level rugby league players. Upper limb neuromuscular training is evidenced as a preventative intervention in several sports; however no evidence has been reported in the rugby codes which have a unique injury profile. This study retrospectively assessed the effect of a specific shoulder neuromuscular training program on the occurrences of major shoulder injuries in an elite level rugby league club.

Materials And Methods

A retrospective review of major shoulder injury rates was conducted at an elite level rugby league club over a six year period between 2007 and 2012. A specific preventative neuromuscular shoulder exercise program was introduced during the 2010 season. An age-adjusted comparison between the 2007 – 2009 seasons (pre-neuromuscular training period) and 2010 – 2012 seasons (neuromuscular training period) was conducted.

Results

Overall, the observed major shoulder injury rates dropped significantly (p=0.011; exact binomial test) by more than 50% after the introduction of the neuromuscular training program (from 15.8%/anno to 7.7%/anno). Age was generally inversely associated with injury risk and the achieved preventative effect size of training. Younger athletes aged less than 20 years profited most with an observed reduction by more than 80%.

Conclusion

Specific neuromuscular shoulder training seems able to substantially reduce major shoulder injury rates in elite level rugby league players.