The relationship between postural stability sway, balance, and injury in adolescent female soccer players in the eThekwini district of KwaZulu-Natal
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Background: Poor balance is a risk factor for injury in adolescent sport including soccer. Despite the rapid growth in female adolescent soccer especially in South Africa, the association between balance and injury in this population has not been fully explored. This study aimed to determine the relationship between injury and balance. Static and dynamic balance was monitored as sway index (SI) and limits of stability direction control (LOSDC). Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine the body mass index of adolescent female soccer players; to determine the prevalence of injury in adolescent female soccer players; to determine static balance as revealed by the sway index (SI); to determine dynamic stability as revealed by limits of stability direction control (LOSDC) and to correlate body mass index (BMI) to sway index and limits of stability. Method: Eighty adolescent female soccer players, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, were recruited through convenience sampling from schools in the eThekwini district of KwaZulu-Natal. After obtaining informed consent and assent, participants completed questionnaires and were scheduled for the balance and BMI assessments. The objective data for each participant consisted of height, weight, Sway Index (SI) and Limits of Stability Direction Control (LOSDC) readings, measured using a stadiometer, electronic scale and Biodex Biosway Balance System (Biodex Medical Systems Inc., Shirley, New York) respectively. The subjective and objective data were analyzed using SPSS version 21.0 (SPSS Inc. Chicago, Ill, USA). Statistical tests included descriptive statistics using frequency and cross-tabulation. Inferential statistics using t-tests and Pearson’s correlations at a significance level of 0.05 was also incorporated. The testing of hypotheses was performed using Fisher’s Exact tests for nominal data and ordinal data. A p value of < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. The statistical analysis also included Odds Ratio calculations. Results: The mean body mass index of the injured participants was 23.54±3.56 kg/m2 and the mean body mass index of the uninjured participants was 23.00±4.63. Only 27.5% of the participants sustained an injury. Injured participants performed poorly on average in the SI assessment involving their eyes open when standing on a soft surface. The results were similar for the LOSDC in the overall, right, left, backward-right and backward-left directions. However, there were no significant correlations calculated. Significant relationships existed between BMI and the SI assessments in the injured participants which involved standing on a firm surface with their eyes open (p = 0.05), their eyes closed when also standing on a firm surface (p = 0.05), their eyes open when standing on a soft surface (p = 0.02), and their eyes closed when standing on a soft surface (p = 0.04). A significant relationship also existed between BMI and LOS right direction control (p = 0.02). Conclusion: This research paper revealed that the body mass index as investigated in this study is similar to other studies involving female adolescents; soccer injury as investigated in this study is similar to other studies involving female adolescents; poor static and dynamic balance is not associated with injury in adolescent female soccer players and lastly, body mass index is linked to the balance of an individual.