Which Sport Has The Most Injuries Football Or Soccer Identify If You At Risk for an ACL Injury

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Identify If You At Risk for an ACL Injury

Every athlete knows someone who has experienced a serious knee injury while playing a sport. ACL injuries keep athletes out of sports for up to 1 year, and the cost of recovering from an ACL injury is estimated at $15,000-$25,000. As an athlete, parent, or coach, you need to determine whether you, your child, or your team is at risk for a serious knee injury. Finally, we’ve identified 10 ways to find out if you’re at higher risk for an ACL knee injury.

1. Male or female? Studies have found that women experience knee injury at 4-6 times the rate of men in similar cutting sports.

2. How old are you? Research has determined that girls from early to late puberty are at greater risk of injury because they exhibit reduced neuromuscular control of the knee when landing from a jump. (Hevett et al. JB&JS, 2004)

3. What sport do you play? Basketball and football athletes experience the highest rate of serious knee injuries. Girls in these sports have the highest injury rates.

4. Does your sport require a jump? A recent study estimates that 70% of all ACL injuries occur when landing from a jump. (Boden et al. Orthopedics, 2000)

5. Do your knees buckle when landing from a jump or when cutting? Excessive knee valgus (knees coming together) can be the cause of an ACL injury.

6. Do you have a dominant leg that you use in your sport? Research has determined that the dominant leg has a greater valgus (inward depression) knee when landing from a jump. (Ford et al. ACSM, 2003)

7. Are your tendons weak? The hamstrings act as a dynamic restraint to an ACL injury. Most athletes show significant overdevelopment of the quadriceps muscles compared to the hamstrings.

8. Are the rest of your joints relaxed? Hypermobility of your other joints can be a precursor to an ACL injury. Check the mobility of the knee, elbow and little finger.

9. Can you balance on one leg? If you have to touch with your other leg or if your knee buckles, you are at greater risk of injuring your ACL. ACL injuries often occur when landing on one leg or cutting off one leg. The athlete needs to dynamically stabilize the knee in order to prepare for an injury-free season.

10. Can you jump lightly? If you jump from a 12-18 inch box with a loud thump, you have difficulty reducing the force of your landing – increasing your risk of ACL injuries.

If you fall into any of the above risk factors, you need to start an ACL injury prevention program right away. Injury prevention programs have been shown to reduce several of the risk factors listed above. The program should have an emphasis on strengthening/stabilization exercises, plyometric exercises and agility training.

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