Ask the Expert: How can I prevent ACL injuries?

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Sports medicine experts say with football, basketball and several other sports all in season, the number of student-athletes coming in with injuries is on the rise. So, there’s a new effort to focus on improved training, not just during the season, but all year long.

Researchers have been studying ACL injuries for years. They’re common knee injuries, and now, quite a bit is known about preventing them.

A unique partnership now allows people to go right to their cell phones and get sports-specific training to reduce injuries.

"So, the data that's available suggests that any quality injury-prevention program could potentially reduce your risk of knee/ACL injury by about 50%,” said Dr. Adam Metzler, an orthopedic surgeon with St. Elizabeth Healthcare and OrthoCincy’s sports medicine team.

He said specific exercises incorporated in a comprehensive training program cut injury risk.

“And that would entail stretching, coordination, balance, what we call proprioception, and then strength and agility training. And the combination of all those together is designed to help reduce your injury risk,” Dr. Metzler said.

So, his team has created a comprehensive ACL training program. It’s a series of videos designed to be shared and used year-round by those such as Nick Skaggs:

“It's free; it's online. We can pull from it. There are videos that help us understand the actual movements that students need to be doing in order to prepare their ACL and their knee to make sure that they can maybe prevent some of that injury that happens during the season,” said Skaggs, the Bellevue varsity girls' soccer coach.

"We do know that ladies [are] four to six times are more likely to have an ACL injury,” Skaggs said.

However, the program is designed for both male and female athletes to succeed.

"So, the concept, really, of any ACL injury-prevention program is really to improve your flexibility and your strength, focused on your core, your hips and your thigh muscles, your quad muscles. And we know that by controlling those muscles, we help to dynamically control the knee, which has been shown to reduce your rate of injury,” Dr. Metzler said.

Click here to see the program.

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