A clinical report recently released by the American Academy of Pediatrics provides 14 recommendations for doctors who work with children in school or sports programs to reduce the risk of knee injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, which are increasingly common in that demographic. A Reuters piece notes, "The ACL can tear when athletes quickly change direction, land on their leg incorrectly, stop suddenly or collide with each other" and that injury to this key knee-stabilizing ligament is especially common in college-aged women.
More from the article:
The report says neuromuscular training programs that strengthen leg muscles, improve stability and teach people how to safely move should be encouraged.
The authors write that the components of training programs that have effectively reduced the risk of ACL tears include plyometric or jump training and tailored feedback for individual athletes.
Programs that also include strength training have been among the most successful in reducing ACL injury rates, they add.
I connected with orthopedic surgeon Jason Dragoo, MD, head team physician for Stanford Football and a Stanford Athletics team physician, who said each day his clinic sees an average of four new ACL tears, approximately 25 percent of those in adolescents.
Dragoo noted that numerous programs for ACL prevention are being distributed in athletic programs, including those at Stanford. Working with the University's strength and conditioning program and using research from the Human Performance Lab and methods such as the Oslo 11+ program, physicians and trainers integrate ACL-prevention exercises into athletes' warm-up and conditioning routines, teaching the body to move with healthy alignment. "A lot of ACL tears occur during fatigue," Dragoo said. "We're training [athletes] to move correctly even when they're tired."
Previously: How much for those healthy knees?, Exploring the use of yoga to improve the health and strength of bones and Researchers call for improvements to health screenings for female college athletes
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