Strength and Biomechanical Risk Factors for Non-contact ACL Injury in Elite Female Footballers: A Prospective Study

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Collings, Tyler J
Diamond, Laura E
Barrett, Rod S
Timmins, Ryan G
Hickey, Jack T
du Moulin, William S
Williams, Morgan D
Beerworth, Kate A
Bourne, Matthew N
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PURPOSE: To determine if a pre-season field-based test battery was prospectively associated with non-contact ACL injury in elite female footballers. METHODS: In total, 322 elite senior and junior female Australian Rules Football and soccer players had their isometric hip adductor and abductor strength, eccentric knee flexor strength, countermovement jump (CMJ) kinetics, and single-leg hop kinematics assessed during the 2019 pre-season. Demographic and injury history details were also collected. Footballers were subsequently followed for 18 months for ACL injury. RESULTS: 15 non-contact ACL injuries occurred during the follow-up period. Prior ACL injury (odds ratio [OR] = 9.68, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] = 2.67-31.46), a lower isometric hip adductor to abductor strength ratio (OR = 1.98, 95%CI = 1.09-3.61), greater CMJ peak take-off force (OR = 1.74, 95%CI = 1.09-3.61), and greater single-leg triple vertical hop average dynamic knee valgus (OR = 1.97, 95%CI = 1.06-3.63) and ipsilateral trunk flexion (OR = 1.60, 95%CI = 1.01-2.55) were independently associated with increased risk for subsequent ACL injury. A multivariable prediction model consisting of CMJ peak take-off force, dynamic knee valgus, and ACL injury history that was internally validated classified ACL injured from uninjured footballers with 78% total accuracy. Between-leg asymmetry in lower limb strength and CMJ kinetics were not associated with subsequent ACL injury risk. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-season field-based measures of lower limb muscle strength and biomechanics were associated with future non-contact ACL injury in elite female footballers. These risk factors can be used to guide ACL injury screening practices and inform the design of targeted injury prevention training in elite female footballers.

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
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© 2022 LWW. This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.
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Sports medicine
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Collings, TJ; Diamond, LE; Barrett, RS; Timmins, RG; Hickey, JT; du Moulin, WS; Williams, MD; Beerworth, KA; Bourne, MN, Strength and Biomechanical Risk Factors for Non-contact ACL Injury in Elite Female Footballers: A Prospective Study, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2022, Publish Ahead of Print