ACL Update

The problem:
- There are an estimated 200,000 ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries in the United States annually.
-1/100 high school and 1/10 college athletes will suffer a serious knee injury per year.
-Non-contact ACL injuries involving change of direction or deceleration account for 70% of all ACL injuries.
-65% of knee ligament injuries occur during sports participation.
-Less than ½ of athletes who undergo reconstructions of their ACL are able to return to sport within the first year after surgery and of those who return to their previous level of activity, the risk of a 2nd ACL injury may range from 6% to as high as 30% and the risk of an ACL injury on the OTHER knee may be at least twice as high.
-Female athletes have a 4-9 times higher incidence of sustaining a serious non-contact ACL injury compared to male athletes participating in the same sport or activity.
  
Although these statistics are concerning, research has found some things that can help.  Dynamic neuromuscular control is the greatest predictor of knee injury risk and is considered the ONLY modifiable risk factor.  But how do we test dynamic neuromuscular control?  Numerous assessment tests have been developed but one of the most easily performed involves having an athlete jump down off of a box and observing how they land.  Do their knees come together?  Are their feet even and apart?  How much do they bend their knees and hips?  Do they have a stiff or soft landing strategy?  Is the landing quiet or loud?  This and other tests can start to give us a picture of dynamic neuromuscular control and possible modifiable injury risk factors which can ultimately help us with training techniques.
    
One injury prevention warm- up program promoted by FIFA, and developed by international experts is called “FIFA 11+.”  The program includes exercises which incorporate running, active stretches, exercises focusing on core and leg strength, balance, plyometrics and agility.  The full program is available online at no cost at http://f-marc.com/11plus/home/