Netball is ranked as the leading women’s participation team sport in Australia for 15 to 24-year-olds. It is a great sport to develop health and fitness in a team based environ- ment regardless of the level of competition. Like any sport there is an inherent risk of injury. National insurance data indicates that as high as 25% of all major injuries are at- tributed to Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries. Furthermore ACL injury comes at high physical, emotional and financial cost to the athlete.
The ACL is the main stabilising ligament in the knee. Females are four to six times more likely than males to rupture this liga- ment. There is also further risk associated with athletes participating in sports involv- ing deceleration, pivoting and twisting. This means that netballers have a high risk of in- jury to the ACL and lower limbs.
Research tells us that 50 to 70% of all ACL injuries can be prevented with neuro- muscular training programmes. These types of programmes are basically designed to improve the strength, flexibility, control, balance and co-ordination of the athlete. Not only can they decrease the incidence of lower limb injuries, they have the added benefit of enhancing performance.
With this in mind Netball Australia, along with the Institute of Sport, has developed the KNEE programme to provide education to coaches, players and parents. The KNEE programme is a netball specific neuromus- cular training programme and can be ac- cessed at www.http//knee.netball.com.au.
Whether you are a coach to your child’s netball team, support staff, athlete or parent, this programme is designed to keep players on the court for longer and moving more ef- ficiently when there.