Knee Injury P​revention Program

“Role of neuromuscular training in reducing sports injuries and improving fitness among Chicago Public Elementary and Middle School students”

Principle Investigator: Cynthia LaBella, MD

Sports-related injuries are a serious concern for physically active children and adolescents.1-14  Previous research, including ours at Chicago Public High Schools, shows neuromuscular training (NMT) reduces sports-related injuries in female athletes by up to 88%. 32-39  However, NMT is not well-studied in males or younger age groups 38.  

This project aims to determine the effect of our NMT program, named the Knee Injury Prevention Program (KIPP), on sports-related injuries and physical fitness among 5th-8th grade students in Chicago Public Schools. The study will take place each school year starting with the 2011-12 school year. To measure KIPP’s effect on sports injuries, we will recruit 5th-8th grade sports coaches and their athletes, randomize coaches by school into two groups, then train the intervention group to implement a 10-minute KIPP warm-up before practices and games.

Control group will perform their usual warm-up and have the option to learn the warm-up in subsequent years. Research assistants will collect athlete participation and injury data from coaches weekly or biweekly. To determine feasibility of KIPP in PE classes and measure its effect on fitness, we will recruit at least ten physical education (PE) teachers to be randomized. Five will be taught to implement the KIPP warm-up in PE classes and five will continue with their personal warm-up for a minimum of ten weeks throughout the school year, and will record students’ presidential fitness test or Fitnessgram scores before the start and after the end of the duration of the program. Results of this study will guide strategies for preventing sports-related injuries and improving physical fitness in 5th -8th graders.