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Preventing an ACL Injury is Key When Playing Sports

Posted on September 23, 2014

Preventing an ACL Injury is Key When Playing Sports

174481904Tear or rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has become a serious problem for today’s athletes. The ACL is responsible for providing stability in the knee to prevent anterior translation of the tibia during pivoting activities. Those athletes that have suffered an ACL injury are prone to acute tears of the meniscus over 50% of the time. Each year approximately 150,000 ACL injuries occur in the United States. Most patients that undergo ACL reconstruction are athletes younger than 25 years of age who are frequently involved in high school, collegiate or intramural sports.

Derrick Burgess, M.D., Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Specialist and Orthopaedic Surgeon at South Central Orthopaedics in Laurel, said, “Research shows external and internal factors are associated with an ACL injury. External factors include any play where the injured athlete’s coordination is disrupted prior to the landing or slowing down. Reduced knee flexion angles, valgus collapse at the knee, and abnormal hip rotation are factors often associated with ACL tears. Internal factors include differences in the anatomy of men and women, hamstring weakness, neuromuscular factors, and hormonal effects. The literature strongly supports the higher occurrence of ACL injuries in female athletes, especially at the high school level. Female athletes participating in basketball, soccer, and volleyball are considered high risk and carry a 2-8 times higher risk of injury than their male counterparts.”

Approximately 70 percent of athletes tear their ACL without direct contact by another player. “Those athletes injured during a non-contact related move usually do so during a landing or sharp deceleration. During the time of injury, the knee is almost straight and may be associated with an inward collapse. Often this will occur in an athlete with a flat-footed position where the leg is positioned in front of or to the side of the trunk of the body. The ACL rupture occurs within milliseconds after ground contract. To counteract this problem, intervention programs have been developed that concentrate on neuromuscular retraining with the goal of altering body movement and positioning,” Dr. Burgess said.

South Central’s Sports Performance Program Improves Athletic Skills

Without the right foundation, athletes may never reach their full potential as well as increase risk for injuries. Sports Performance+ also offers the Sportsmetrics ACL Injury Prevention Program to improve lower strength, stability, reaction and balance to prevent an ACL injury. This program is one of three of its kind that has been scientifically proven to reduce the rate of noncontact ACL tears in adolescent female athletes. Dr. Burgess had the privilege of training under Dr. Frank Noyes, creator of the Sportsmetrics program, during his fellowship. This comprehensive six-week program places an emphasis on proper form for running and landing during athletic participation.

Research suggests that ACL and other traumatic knee injuries can be reduced by more than 50% by using a preventive training program that makes flexibility, balance, strength, plyometrics, agility, and technique training an integral part of its exercise regiment. South Central Sports Performance+ utilizes the latest equipment and training techniques to conduct a thorough evaluation. Consequently, it has designed a conditioning program which includes an individualized strength workout that will address the needs and goals of athletes who are striving for excellence this season.

Derrick Burgess, MD 1Sports Performance+, part of the South Central Regional Medical Center Sports Medicine Program, helps athletes ages 8 and up, of all levels, to improve their athletic skills, learn techniques for preventing injury and ultimately reach their optimal athletic performance. South Central Regional Medical Center’s sports medicine and performance enhancement program provides the full spectrum of care to all kinds of athletes.

Derrick Burgess, M.D., is a Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Specialist and Orthopaedic Surgeon at South Central Orthopaedics in Laurel. He worked with the Cincinnati Bengals during his fellowship training program at the Cincinnati Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked with a team of athletic trainers, physical therapists and other physicians in Laurel to develop the Sports Performance+ program, which is located at the South Central Wellness Center. For more information, call 601-399-0530.