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Reducing Biomechanical Risk Factors Associated with Injury during Landing in Pre-Elite Youth Netballers

A significant body of research has investigated the incidence of knee injuries in female athletes. Collectively, these findings indicate female athletes are at a significantly increased risk of knee injury in comparison to males. The knee is the most common site for injury in netball players, however there remains a lack of experimental evidence investigating knee loading patterns in netball. Most netball injuries occur during landing from a jump due to improper landing technique and lower-extremity strength deficiencies. These injuries can have substantial effects on the athletes’ performance, future participation in sport and mental health. Neuromuscular-training (NMT) is reported to be an effective method of increasing strength, power and improving lower extremity biomechanics in females. NMT typically involves a combination of resistance and plyometric training. The improvement in movement efficiency attained with this type of training better prepares the netball athlete to decelerate appropriately and absorb landing forces, subsequently decreasing potential injury risk. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of neuromuscular-training, however these benefits are yet to be quantified in netball. This type of training is particularly important for female athlete due to changes that occur during maturation, consequently placing female athletes at a higher risk of knee injury.

Therefore, the aims of the proposed thesis are to: i) Determine if the implementation of a neuromuscular training program will improve biomechanical risk factors associated with knee injury in young netball athletes; ii) Identify if there is a relationship between lower extremity strength and poor landing mechanics in young netball athletes; iii) Identify if there is a relationship between muscle activation patterns and poor landing mechanics in young netball athletes; and iv) Determine if poor hip abductor strength is associated with increased valgus knee motion during landing in young netball athletes.

Project duration



Miss Amanda Hopper
Associate Professor Greg Haff
Charles Sturt University (Aus), Dr Stephen Bird
Notre Dame University (Aus), Chris Joyce
Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK), Dr Rhodri Lloyd

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