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ACL Injury Prevention and Education

Hi Parents, I’m Chris,  I help Mo with a lot of behind the scenes work along with Becky. I’m also a busy sports parent, like all of you, and I recently had to watch one of my sons endure the effects of a blown ACL (and MCL and meniscus – the trifecta) during a final play at non-contact practice. Before then, I didn’t realize that over the last ten years the annual rate increase of ACL injuries in children and teens is rising at an alarming rate (Shaw, Reuters). I also didn’t realize the specific resources and steps we can take as parents to help our kids prevent this side-lining trauma.
 
Keeping off the courts and the fields isn’t the realistic answer. Educating ourselves and knowing how to best help them get and stay strong and healthy is essential. This blog is all about giving you the information – and power – to positively influence your child’s training. Take it from me, these are harsh, horrific injuries that you never want to see your child experience. Take it from Mo – who has been there before as a player, enduring her own ACL reconstruction at age 17 (hear her story). Her personal experience drives her to make sure she and the coaches at Mo’ Motion take all precautions and coach preventive measures.
 

ACL Injury – What’s the Big Deal?

According to the Mayo Clinic, an ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament (ACL) — one of the major ligaments in your knee. The treatment and recovery of an ACL tear often includes surgery and rigorous rehabilitation, and can have lifelong impacts.

ACL injuries most commonly occur during activities that involve sudden stops or changes in direction (jumping/landing).

Some things predisposition athletes to higher risks of ACL injury:

  • For girls ages 11-16:  Pelvic tilt changing in girls along with changes in weight
  • Over-training (soccer players, two-sport athletes in same season, no rest days)
  • Quads muscles (front of the legs) being more developed than the hamstrings (back of legs)
  • Knees knocking or collapsing inward – upon impact (or one knee knocking) – this can be easily tested and detected
  • Aggressive athletes who have all of the above issues are the most at risk

What Can You Do?

Parents, coaches, program administrators, and school leaders can help stop the alarming rise in ACL injuries. 

Start with some of the basics and learn the best preventative exercises. Your child can do these at home, in practice, etc.

Make prevention a part of the routine. You can find videos like this one that outline exercises to do a few days each week.

Understand more about the options for surgery and rehabilitation if an injury happens. Mo discusses those and how the injury affected her physically and mentally, and why she is do determined to help young athletes avoid this kind of severe sports injury.

Get a more thorough understanding and learn specific exercises and target areas (and see that most of these require little to no equipment). The following manual has charts and plans for preventative training. 

Mo – Rehabbing the knee and still working on her shot in the driveway.

I had to mentally get over the fear of it happening again. – Mo

Communicate with your child’s coaches and school athletic staff about the value you place on ACL injury prevention. Share this blog and these resources with them.

At Mo’ Motion we focus on prevention – and work with our players to build strength, endurance, balance, and basketball IQ. This includes a thorough understanding of how to train at the highest level. If you have questions about how to help your athlete do this, please reach out to Mo!

 

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