Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Science / Human Performance


Exercise Science

First Advisor

Chad Kerksick

Second Advisor

Kate Tessmer

Third Advisor

Tom Godar


Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is highly prevalent within competitive sports of all levels and types. Female athletes are at higher risk for sustaining an ACL injury. specifically those participating in field and court based sports involving large dynamic movements, such as soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and gymnastics. The use of neuromuscular training to promote proper mechanics during jumping and change of direction activities may decrease the risk of ACL injury.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of a neuromuscular trai11ing program on jump landing mechanics in female college athletes.

METHODS: Forty-three female Division 11 college athletes (20.06± 1.2yrs, 67.34±2.Sin, 148.76± I 9.9lbs) were recruited from the rosters of four teams including, soccer (N= I I), lacrosse (N= 19), field hockey (N=6), and volleyball (N=7). Of the 43 participants that completed baseline testing, 34 completed post testing. Jump landing performance was assessed using the Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) Analysis of the jumps was assessed by three separate evaluators and the scores were averaged to obtain an overall LESS score. Participants were randomized into two groups: a neuromuscular training (TRAIN) and a control (CONT) group. TRAIN performed six weeks of neuromuscular jump training, twice per week for a total of 12 sessions. Data was analyzed using a 2 x 2 (group x time) ANOVA with repeated measures on time. All data are presented as means ± SD.

RESULTS: There was no interaction effect observed for knee valgus at initial contact (p=0. 16; p>0.05) or at maximum knee flexion angle (p=0.64; p>0.05). The amow1t of knee valgus observed at both initial contact and maximum knee flexion remained the same for TRAIN. whereas there was a statistical trend (p=0.059) towards an increase in knee valgus at initial contact over time in the CONT. Significance differences between groups and time were found for total LESS score (p=0.049; p<0.05). A significant difference was observed (p = 0.019) for total LESS score in the CONT as performance decreased from baseline (6.03± 1.1 3 errors) to post testing (6.61±1.33 errors), whereas in the TRAIN performance remained the same from baseline (5.69±1 .22 errors) to post testing (5.65±1.44 errors).

CONCLUSIONS: Neuromuscular training appears to help maintain jump landing performance over a six-week period while a lack of training appears to result in a decrease in performance. Slight improvements in knee valgus were observed in the TRAIN group which may be further improved over a longer training period. These findings support the use of a neuromuscular jump training program over a relatively short period of time to improve landing mechanics. Longer investigations are needed to better determine if reductions in injury potential can result.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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