Eﬀects of Balance and Proprioceptive Exercises on the Balance of Ice Hockey Players and the Risk of Lower Limb Injuries
Background. Most ice hockey injuries are contact, but about 15% are non-contact musculoskeletal injuries and lower body injuries account for 30-45% of all injuries in ice hockey players. It is believed that proprioception and balance training can improve neuromuscular control, improve its ability to synchronise the muscle joint to improve dynamic stability and improve human performance, so balance and proprioception are suggested exercises as a regular part of training.
The aim. To determine the eﬀects of a 6-week balance and proprioception training exercises on balance and lower extremity injury risk in ice hockey players.
Material and methods. 20 men were randomly divided into experimental and control groups. Six weeks were applied to the research group balance and proprioception exercises, twice a week for 45 minutes next to their regular training. The control group continued with regular training. Before and after the study, static balance was assessed by the ﬂamingo test, dynamic balance and lower extremity injury risk by the modified star excursion test, and injury risk assessment using the Functional Movement Assessment.
Results. In the intervention group after 6 weeks the static balance of the right and left leg improved statistically significantly (p<0,05), the dynamic balance of the right and left leg in the front, posteromedial, posterolateral directions (p<0,05), but functional movement patterns did not change statistically significantly (p>0,05). A statistically significant diﬀerence was found between the groups in the dynamic balance of the left and right leg in the front, posteromedial, and posterolateral directions (p<0,05) and the static balance of the right leg (p<0,05). The results of the intervention group were better compared to the control group.
Conclusions. After the application of balance and proprioception training exercises, the static and dynamic balance of ice hockey players improved and the risk of injury in ice hockey players decreased.
Recommendations. Balance and proprioception exercises should be included in hockey physical training to improve static and dynamic balance and reduce the risk of injury. When performing balance and proprioception exercises, we recommend incorporating a variety of specific movements that are similar to those performed by athletes during training and competition. In order to determine the cause of injuries and their risk, it is very important to carry out regular tests, store them and analyse them.
Keywords: balance, proprioception, hockey, injury risk
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