McGuire A1, Estabrooks A1, McCullough C1, Merritt J1, Muller S1, Stow RC1. The Effect of Short-Term Single-Leg Balance Exercises on Balance Scores of Female Collegiate Athletes. 1Athletic Training Program, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USA.
Purpose: As athletic trainers, the correlation of injury and poor balance ignited an interest to uncover what can be done to improve balance and decrease the chance of injury among athletes. The purpose of this study was to test if a female collegiate athlete’s balance can be improved by implementing a three week, single leg (SL) balance program. As observed in previous research studies, poor balance is a significant contributing factor to injury. Methods: In this study, 20 female, division three student-athletes, in pre/post season were randomly assigned into a control or experimental group. All athletes performed a SL balance pretest on their right/left legs as well as a fall risk assessment using the BIODEX SD Balance machine. The BIODEX produces quantitative data to compare the control and experimental groups’ change in balance ability. Three weeks from the date of their pretest, participants completed a posttest on the BIODEX balance machine. Throughout the three weeks, the experimental group performed a balance program including five different SL balance exercises three times a week. The exercises were monitored by a member of the research group to ensure completion and proper technique. Results: Statistical measures that were utilized included an analysis of variance (ANOVA), two-way repeated measures ANOVA, independent sample t-test, and paired t-tests. Two-way repeated measures ANOVA indicated a significant improvement in mediolateral test from pre- to post-test, F(1,18) = 6.12, p = .021, but no group difference was seen, F(1,18) = 0.82, p = .376. Conclusion: It was evident that the 3 week balance program did not result in the improvements in the college-aged athletic female population; however various implications can be used in the future to replicate this study with modifications to find applicable results.