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The Effectiveness of Neuromuscular Warmups for Lower Extremity Injury Prevention in Basketball: A Systematic Review

  • Davis, Anna C.1, 2
  • Emptage, Nicholas P.1
  • Pounds, Dana3
  • Woo, Donna1
  • Sallis, Robert4
  • Romero, Manuel G.5
  • Sharp, Adam L.3, 2
  • 1 Kaiser Permanente,
  • 2 Kaiser Permanente Bernard J Tyson School of Medicine,
  • 3 Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation,
  • 4 Fontana Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, 9961 Sierra Ave, Fontana, CA 92335 USA
  • 5 University of the Pacific,
Published Article
Sports Medicine - Open
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Sep 16, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s40798-021-00355-1
PMID: 34529179
PMCID: PMC8446130
PubMed Central
  • Systematic Review


Background Neuromuscular warmups have gained increasing attention as a means of preventing sports-related injuries, but data on effectiveness in basketball are sparse. The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate evidence of the effectiveness of neuromuscular warmup-based strategies for preventing lower extremity injuries among basketball athletes. Methods PubMed and Cochrane Library databases were searched in February 2019. Studies were included if they were English-language randomized controlled, non-randomized comparative, or prospective cohort trials, tested neuromuscular and/or balance-focused warmup interventions among basketball players, and assessed at least one type of lower extremity injury as a primary outcome. Criteria developed by the USPSTF were used to appraise study quality, and GRADE was used to appraise the body of evidence for each outcome. Due to heterogeneity in the included studies, meta-analyses could not be performed. Results In total, 825 titles and abstracts were identified. Of the 13 studies which met inclusion criteria for this review, five were balance interventions (3 randomized controlled trials) and eight were multicomponent interventions involving multiple categories of dynamic neuromuscular warmup (5 randomized controlled trials). Authors of four of the studies were contacted to obtain outcome data specific to basketball athletes. Basketball specific results from the studies suggest significant protective effects for the following lower extremity injuries: ankle injuries (significant in 4 out of the 9 studies that assessed this outcome); ACL injuries (2 of 4 studies); knee injuries generally (1 of 5 studies); and overall lower extremity injuries (5 of 7 studies). All but one of the non-significant results were directionally favorable. Evidence was moderate for the effect of multicomponent interventions on lower extremity injuries generally. For all other outcomes, and for balance-based interventions, the quality of evidence was rated as low. Conclusion Overall, the evidence is supportive of neuromuscular warmups for lower extremity injury prevention among basketball players. However, most studies are underpowered, some used lower-quality research study designs, and outcome and exposure definitions varied. Due to the nature of the study designs, effects could not be attributed to specific intervention components. More research is needed to identify the most effective bundle of warmup activities. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40798-021-00355-1.

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