“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
We’ve all heard the old saying, but can this really apply to the specifics of a netball injury? Alanna Antcliff, physiotherapist to the Australian Diamonds, thinks so – though her extensive research and resulting program she has developed, in conjunction with netballing professionals, a movement efficiency program to help prevent knee injuries in netball.
An alarming statistic recently was announced, with ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries in 2016 accounting for 364 years of rehabilitation for netballers in Australia. Any netballer can tell you that the most commonly injured body parts are knees and ankles, with ACL injuries representing approximately 25% of all serious injuries.
The majority of these injuries occur when landing, and having spent years standing on sidelines watching players of varying ages and ability move on court, Alanna knows the stress placed on the lower limb due to the demands of netball itself and it was clear that movement patterns of netballers generally could be improved upon.
When developing the KNEE program, it became clear that injury prevention programs did exist in other sports however there was no such program that was specific to the unique demands of netball.
After two years of painstaking research, the program began to take shape. The core understanding was acknowledging “at risk” movements and the key elements to effective technique in preventing were devised in accordance with literature. For example, knowing that the majority of ACL injuries occur on landing and change of direction, meant that maximising technique of these movements became a priority.
These techniques can be applied to participant players right up to use at representative level with the Australian Diamonds, as the program is designed for any netballer at any age. The teachings can assist in educating athletes themselves, coaches along with support staff.
By improving a players muscle activation prior to activity, mazimising their take off and landing technique and enhancing their netball specific agility, it will improve the efficiency and safety of on court movement hence helping to prevent injury.
So what’s the program all about?
The KNEE Program is a freely accessible online resource and includes a Warm Up, Strength, Balance/Landing, and Agility Sections.
The KNEE Program needs to be completed at least twice a week for maximum effectiveness and must be continued for the effects to be maintained. Not only must the program be continued, but also it must be done with correct technique to ensure risky movements are eliminated rather than reinforced and efficient movement patterns are adopted.
Want to know more or how to implement the KNEE program into your netball club? Visit http://knee.netball.com.au/ for more information on this free resource.