Balance in netballers
Ankle sprain is a common injury within the sport of netball and incurs great costs to the taxpayer. Following ankle sprain, a large number of cases are left with residual deficits in balance and proprioception, which leads to a high level of injury recurrence of approximately 80 percent. A lack of balancing ability has been associated with netball injuries and particularly at the ankle. In an attempt to prevent injuries occurring in netball through a loss of balance, it is necessary to have appreciation for what levels of balancing ability exist within netball players, how netball balance can be measured and ultimately improved.
While there is extensive research on ankle injury and instability, there is still a lack of consensus regarding the cause of functional ankle instability. Discrepancies exist over the development and involvement of the postural control system as well as the influence of the foot and lower limb. Rehabilitation techniques examined pose unanswered questions and the ability to assess progress is unclead. Balance testing to date has been based around tests for elderly and neurologically impaired populations which are not specific enough to detect alterations in sporting populations.
Twelve female subjects all of recreational netball ability volunteered to participate in a pilot study to investigate the reliability of two newly designed netball specific balance tests. The study involved a pseudo-experimental test-retest design with the subjects performing the two newly designed balance tests in the same order on two consecutive days. Three trials of each of the Weaver Anterior Balance Test (WABT) and the Weaver Lateral Balance Test (WLBT) were timed to failure. Both tests were found to be reasonably reliable within trials (CV 6.6-11.3%) and between days (ICC 0.99 and CV 5.3-10.6%). These tests provide some evidence that reliable netball specific balance tests can exist but the context in which they can be applied still warrants further investigation.