4 Ways to Reduce Risk of ACL Injury
An ACL injury can be devastating for a student athlete. The clinicians at the Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Mercy are dedicated to helping reduce the risk of ACL injury with these recommendations:
Play multiple sports. Participating in multiple sports throughout the year can develop and fine-tune your child’s athletic skills. A soccer player, for example, could develop speed and quickness by running track. Or, could improve foot speed and coordination by playing tennis. But if your child specializes in a sport, he or she may overuse their body by repeating the same movement patterns. This could possibly result in injury.
Warm-up prior to participation. A proper dynamic warm-up is key to getting the body ready for sports participation. Leg muscles need to be fully activated to reduce injury risk. Adolescent athletes need to gradually begin activity to get the blood flowing to the legs. Some examples include: shuffles for 30 seconds, walking knee hugs (5 x each side), skipping for 30 seconds, lateral lunges (5 x each side), squats (6 to 10 times) and inchworms.
Rest! When adolescents are tired, their bodies don’t perform the way they should and movement technique often gets sloppy, resulting in injury risk. Adequate sleep, rest days, and alternating hard workouts with easier workouts are all important strategies to reduce your child’s risk of injury and make them a strong, injury-free athlete.
Training must strengthen and stretch key muscle groups. Injury reduction is possible if the adolescent has optimal flexibility through the legs, strength of the hips and core and balance, allowing the child to jump and land safely.