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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Unintentional Injuries

Predictors of Dynamic Knee Stability among Female Athletes

FOA Number: CE04-165E: Program to Prevent Knee Injuries in Female Basketball Players/Earmark
Project Period: 9/30/04–9/29/05
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000493-01
Principal Investigator: Scott Lephart, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
350 Thackery Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-383-6747
Fax: 412-383-6636


The purpose of this study is to assess the functional capacity for dynamic knee stability in female athletes and to determine if a select group of neuromuscular and biomechanical characteristics significantly predict dynamic knee stability during a single-leg, stop-jump task. Over the last decade, there has been widespread attention on the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries among females who actively participate in sports and recreational activities. Female athletes are suffering ACL injuries at a significantly higher rate than male athletes in matched sports. Most of these injuries occur through a non-contact mechanism of injury, where no external force is applied directly to the knee joint; instead, the only forces that are applied to the knee joint in such cases are impact-related and internal soft-tissue forces. Many studies have been conducted to determine what risk factors may contribute to noncontact ACL injuries in female athletes. Recent research on female non-contact ACL injury prevention has focused mostly on the neuromuscular and biomechanical factors of joint stability and the potential for modifying these factors through intervention programs. Researchers seek to determine how to change the neuromuscular and biomechanical characteristics of female athletes in ways that will improve their ability to control dynamic knee stability and reduce their risk for noncontact ACL injuries. Dynamic knee stability is essential to the safe performance of physically demanding athletic activities. Without proper dynamic knee stability, athletes are at risk for serious knee injury.