It seems as though every year more and more coaches are talking about losing one of their athletes (females 4-8x more than males) to a knee injury, most commonly the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). They’re not wrong, as the incidence of ACL injuries is currently estimated at approximately close to a quarter of a million each year in Canada and the USA2.
The ACL is one of four main ligaments in the knee, preventing the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur, as well as providing rotational stability to the knee joint. ACL injuries are common in sports with quick changes in direction such as basketball and soccer. The most common mechanisms of injury are via a non-contact pivot shift or a direct blow to the lateral knee while flexed. These injuries can often be a long drawn out recovery process with persistent symptoms and an increased incidence of osteoarthritis later in life. Recently, a question was asked to me whether there was anything we do at Performance Sports Therapy in the form of an injury prevention program with our athletes. We like to start our injury prevention program with a functional movement screen (SFMA) to assess a person’s movement quality as an essential component to reducing the risk of injury and as a base to optimize their performance. There are good basic programs out there for youth coaches to start from, like the FIFA 11+ warm up protocol .
However, from our professional functional assessment we tailor our injury prevention program (for a team or individual athlete) based on advanced rehabilitation protocols from Integrated Therapeutics3 to include a combination of the following:
– Closed kinetic chain exercises3
– Neuromuscular activation, with proper training feedback5
– Visual oriented changes in stimuli and proprioception based exercises3, 6
– Sport specific movement and plyometric training3
The Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine reccommends that teams should collaborate with a qualified health care professional to properly institute an ACL injury prevention program2. If you or your team are looking for a more comprehensive ACL prevention training program, feel free to contact us at Performance Sports Therapy with any questions.
Dr. Devin Chohan