Balance Assessment Changes in Female Collegiate Soccer Players over a 2-Year Period
Objective: The purpose of this study was to measure the balance changes in female collegiate soccer players over a 2-year period.
Methods: Seven females from a Division I university soccer team (starting mean age, 17.71 years; SD=0.49) completed the 2-year study. Subjects were assessed on the NeuroCom Smart® Balance
Master system before their freshman seasons and were re-tested at the beginning of each subsequent fall season for static balance on the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) and for dynamic balance on the Limits of Stability (LOS) Test. Mean differences were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA.
Results: Players’ overall static balance improved as noted by the increase in the composite equilibrium score for the SOT: F2,12=12.94, p=0.001. Pairwise comparisons revealed a significant increase from year 1 [79.1 (2.9)] to year 2 [84.7(3.1)] (p=0.009) and year 1 to year 3 [86.4 (2.8)] (p=0.008). Significant improvements in balance were noted for the following SOT conditions: condition4 (F2,12=3.94, p=0.048); condition 5 (F2,12=13.77, p=0.001); and condition 6 (F2,12=4.44,p=0.036). Pairwise comparisons revealed changes from year 1 [85.8 (5.4)] to year 3 [91.6 (1.6)] for condition 4 (p =0.05) and year 1 [69.2 (6.4)] to year 3 [79.9 (6.0)] for condition 6 (p=0.036). In condition 5, balance improved from year 1 [59.5 (8.9)] to year 2 [76.5 (6.4)] (p=0.006) and from year 1 to year 3 [76.4 (7.1)] (p=0.008). A significant change was observed in LOS for Backward Endpoint Excursion (F2,12=5.44, p=0.021) with pairwise comparisons revealing a significant increase from year 1 [51.0 (11.2)] to year 3 [66.5 (10.2)] (p=0.017).
Conclusion: This study showed that female soccer players’ performance increased components of static and dynamic balance,which indicates that participating in soccer may not be detrimental to the overall balance performance of a female collegiate soccer player and may actually enhance it.