By Lainey Berlin

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

An ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear is an athletes biggest fear when it comes to injuries. Not only does it jeopardize the chances of playing the full season, but many athletes face many negative impacts including the loss of scholarships, lower attendance and academic performance, and long-term issues do to osteoarthritis.
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The most common causes of ACL injuries include, change of direction, sudden stopping, awkward landings, pivoting with the knee extended and foot flat on the ground. The different twisting of the knee and the muscles stretch and tear the ACL. The muscle is not strong enough to take the strain of repeated movements all by itself. Athletes who play the same sport for hours are at a higher risk. Out of those athletes, girls are 6x more likely to tear their ACL than boys due to the differences in shape of their hips, muscles around the knee are not as strong, and ligaments are looser. ACL injuries increase the chances for arthritis later in life.
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Although there are no specific solutions that will prevent all ACL tears, there are many exercises that can help strengthen the muscles around the knee. "Recent research has allowed therapists and clinicians to easily identify and target weak muscle areas (e.g., weak hips, which leads to knock-kneed landing positions) and identify ways to improve strength and thus help prevent injury ("Become an Advocate for Sports Safety.")." Specific types of training including jump routines and practicing proper pivoting techniques can help prevent injury and by doing them you can reduce the risks by almost 75%. By strengthening and participating in these exercises at a young age, the chances of prevention of ACL injuries are higher.

Works Cited

1) "Become an Advocate for Sports Safety." ACL Injuries. Stop Sports Injuries, 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

2) "Children Getting Adult Sports Injuries." ABC News. ABC News Network, 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.