An Injury Prevention Program for Professional Ballet: A Randomized Controlled Investigation

Angelina M. Vera, Bene D. Barrera, Leif E. Peterson, Thomas R. Yetter, David Dong, Domenica A. Delgado, Patrick McCulloch, Kevin E. Varner, Joshua D. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Few investigations have examined dance-specific injury prevention programs (IPPs), and no published randomized controlled trials are available that evaluate IPPs for dance. Hypothesis: The implementation of an IPP will significantly reduce the risk of injury in professional ballet dancers. Study Design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 2. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was designed that entailed a superiority model for the intervention group. All professional dancers from a single ballet company were eligible to participate. Randomization and allocation were performed before the start of the season. The control group practiced and performed without change to preexisting standard operating practice. The IPP group was instructed to perform a 30-minute exercise program 3 times per week over the 52-week study period. Injuries were recorded. Standard continuous and categorical data comparisons and correlations were used. Cox proportional hazards regression models for recurrent failures were used wherein the hazard ratio indicates the relative likelihood of injury in the control versus intervention groups. Results: Of the 52 eligible dancers, 75% (n = 39) participated. Of these 39 dancers, 19 (9 males, 10 females; mean age, 26.6 ± 4.0 years) were randomized to the control group and 20 (11 males, 9 females; mean age, 25.1 ± 5.1 years) to the IPP group. No significant (P >.05) difference was found in baseline demographics between groups. A total of 116 injuries were recorded for the entire study population (49 IPP; 67 control). Traumatic and chronic injuries accounted for 54% and 46% of injuries, respectively. The injury rate was 82% less (IPP hazard ratio, 0.18; z = –2.29; P =.022) in the IPP group after adjustment for confounding variables, and time between injuries was 45% longer (IPP hazard ratio, 0.55; z = –2.20; P =.028) than for controls. Conclusion: The present study is the first prospective randomized controlled investigation of an IPP for professional ballet. The results showed an 82% decrease in injury rate for the intervention group and an extended period from previous injury to subsequent injury. Registration: NCT04110002 ( identifier).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2325967120937643
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Beighton
  • Brighton
  • ballet
  • dance
  • injury prevention
  • injury rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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