Increase in ACL injuries in girls
Posted at: 09/20/2012 3:49 PM
| Updated at: 09/20/2012 6:28 PM
By: Robin De Wind | WHEC.com
There is a lot of pressure for young athletes to select one sport and play it year round, but the idea of excelling in one sport, for the change to play in college, is taking its toll on young knees, especially in pre-teen girls.
Doctors have noticed a growing number of ACL injuries in teens and adolescents over the last ten years, especially in young girls. Local doctors say the key in prevention.
Caledonia Mumford’s Breann Nelson spent most of her summer rehabbing her knee.
Nelson said, “I was really mad because it was like my first year on varsity and I felt like I let everyone down.”
A collision on the soccer field caused a tear in her ACL, an all too common injury for the University of Rochester Medical Center Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregg Nicandri.
Dr. Gregg Nicandri said, “Certainly, we’re seeing a lot more specialization one sport at a young age.”
Pressure to play one sport at a young age leads to year round repetitive trauma, muscles are used over and move again.
Dr. Nicandri said, “We have people who play for their high school team that's in the fall but when they go to their club season then they play essentially all year round and there's only a 2 to 3 week break between the end of their club season and the beginning of fall again.”
The ACL is one of the major ligaments that helps to stabilize the knee, a quick pivot or a change in direction can stretch and tear the ligament. Girls, due to their body structure are more vulnerable.
The concern, the injury is happening at a younger age. Dr. Nicandri offers parents and coaches free ACL prevention seminars. He encourages a six week injury prevention program that over the past seven years have proven to reduce the risk of ACL injuries by 72%.
Nicandri said, “If you can get them started at younger ages 9, 10, 11 with club teams who have them longer you may be able to change a culture.”
Simple warm up exercises that can help kids like Breann avoid losing a year of doing what they love.
Nelson said, “It’s intense but I like it because it’s the kind of stuff I like to do but it’s hard you have to be committed to it.”
University Sports Medicine has been ahead of the curve in trying to promote injury prevention. ACL tears used to be common in college age athletes and young adults. The goal of this program is to help reduce these injuries all together.
For more information on University Sports Medicine ACL Prevention Program, call 341-9150.