BACKGROUND:: Soccer has a high injury rate, with lateral ankle sprains being a common injury. Therefore, an approach to prevent or at least reduce the occurrence is warranted. Injury prevention can be improved by identifying specific risk factors and individuals at risk. PURPOSE:: To assess drop-jump landing performance as a potential predictor of lateral ankle sprain within 3-year follow-up. STUDY DESIGN:: Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3. METHODS:: Single-legged drop-jump landing tests were performed by 190 elite soccer players. Based on ground-reaction forces, 6 outcome measures were calculated that aim to reflect the impact and stabilization phase. Lateral ankle sprains were registered during up to 3 years of follow-up. Following a z score correction for age, a multivariate regression analysis was performed. RESULTS:: During follow-up, 45 players (23.7%) suffered a primary lateral ankle sprain. Of those, 34 were regarded as severe (absence >7 days). Performance was related to increased risk of ankle sprain ( P = .005 for all sprains and P = .001 for severe sprains). Low mediolateral stability for the first 0.4 seconds after landing (a larger value indicates more force exerted in the mediolateral direction, resulting in rapid lateral stabilization) and high horizontal ground-reaction force between 3.0 and 5.0 seconds (a smaller value indicates less sway in the stabilization phase) were identified as risk factors. A player that scored 2 SD below average for both risk factors had a 4.4-times-higher chance of sustaining an ankle sprain than a player who scored average. CONCLUSION:: The current study showed that following a single-legged drop-jump landing, mediolateral force over 0 to 0.4 seconds and/or mean resultant horizontal ground-reaction force over 3 to 5 seconds has predictive value with regard to the occurrence of an ankle sprain among male elite soccer players within 3 years.
- motor control