Sideline Sports Doc: Start ACL injury prevention programs when players are young

Sideline Sports Doc: Start ACL injury prevention programs when players are young

Editor’s note: This article by Dev Mishra, M.D. (president of Sideline Sports Doc) first appeared in Sideline Sports Doc’s blog. Sideline Sports Doc is advancing the Players First pillar of Player Health & Safety through resources that include an online injury recognition training course.

While ACL tears occur more frequently in teenagers than youth athletes, a recent study has shown that younger players who participate in ACL injury prevention will see more long-term improvements in their body mechanics, than those who don’t begin ACL injury prevention until they are teens.

The study from the American Journal of Sports Medicine inquired into improvement in movement patterns and mechanics in two groups of youth athletes from an eight week 11 + training program. The two groups of athletes consisted of female soccer players aged 10-12 and female players aged 14-18, respectively. Both groups featured “intervention” players who utilized the 11 + program, and “control” which did not.

With some movement patterns being known to hold a higher risk of ACL tear, such as landing with a knee fully extended, the study authors concluded that athletes aged 10-12 years-old began with more of the high risk movement patterns than the older players did. The younger athletes saw stronger improvements in their movement patterns upon the completion of the eight week training.

“A few earlier studies suggested that intervention training programs might have a greater effect on athletes classified as ‘high risk’ for ACL injury (meaning that they had poor movement techniques to start with) as compared with those classified as ‘low risk,’ commented Dr. Jason Dragoo, an author of the study. “What we found is that preadolescent athletes not only display riskier movement patterns than adolescent athletes but also benefit more from participation in the FIFA 11 program. I’d start this as early as you can.”

Read the entire article on Sideline Sports Doc’s blog here.

View the 11+ training here and for more information visit the 11+ offering page.

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