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Training may cut female soccer players’ knee risks.

Hi Coach Gianni,

On our team we have been discussing knee injuries recently as two players have had ACL surgery this season and another last season. I thought I would pass this article along to you -- kind of interesting. As one still working with my "original equipment," I am always interested in figuring out how to preserve it.



NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adding injury-prevention exercises to soccer practice may help prevent a common knee ligament injury in female athletes, study findings suggest.

The small study, of 18 teenage soccer players, adds to evidence that training young female athletes to move more "like boys" can lower their risk of tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), an important stabilizer of the knee joint.

ACL injuries are most common in sports that require quick pivots, jumps and sudden stops and starts -- including basketball, volleyball and soccer.

Female athletes are four to eight times more likely than their male counterparts to injure the ACL, and experts believe that one reason is that they often move differently from males. They are more likely, for example, to land from a jump in a relatively straight-legged, knock-kneed manner, or to move in a more upright position rather than low to the ground, with knees deeply bent.

In the new study, Dr. Christine D. Pollard and colleagues at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles tested the effects of an injury-prevention training program on female soccer players' jumping mechanics.

Three club and high school teams replaced their standard warm-up with a regimen of strengthening and stretching, as well as jumping and agility exercises. Eighteen girls on the teams had their jumping and landing mechanics assessed at the beginning and end of soccer season.

By season's end, the researchers found, the girls were able to land from jumps with their hips in a position that was less likely to torque the knees -- an improvement that could translate into fewer ACL injuries, Pollard's team concludes in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

Past research has shown that specific injury-prevention training does lower rates of ACL injury. One study found that the same program used in the current report cut female soccer players' risk by 88 percent.

SOURCE: Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, May 2006.

Posted on 08 Oct 2006 by coachgianni
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