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Avoid the ACL Injury Plague

The transition from summer to fall undoubtedly brings excitement for many people across the country; the heat tends to subside; kids gear up for a new school year; and the hope that your favorite football team will make it to this year’s Super Bowl starts building. The only problem for this 2013 season, however, seems to be the constant reports of injuries amongst players. With the preseason only one week old, several key athletes have suffered serious injuries that could keep them out for several weeks or even the whole season.

Reports of NFL players with torn rotator cuffs, hip dislocations and muscle tears have hit the headlines of sports pages in nearly every major city during the few shorts weeks of this 2013 preseason. Most common, however, are knee injuries. More than 5 players have torn their Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). While some injuries can be remedied with physical therapy and non-operative treatments, a torn ACL in an active athlete typically requires surgery and has a substantial recovery time (about 4 – 6 months).

With torn ACLs becoming more common among adolescent athletes, many physical therapists, coaches and trainers have found that plyometric exercises that develop an athlete’s strength, stability and balance can help prevent this type of season-ending injury. Plyometrics have been used for athletic training for many years and help increase the power of a muscle by using rapid or powerful movements in succession. Listed below are just some of the preventative exercises that can be added to any current training regimen.

  • Single Leg Calf Raises
  • Lunges
  • High Kicks
  • Squats
  • Side-to-side/Front-to-back Jumping
  • Dead Lifts
  • Vertical Jumps
  • Plank

The great news is that many of these exercises will also help with endurance, coordination, and flexibility, making anyone who follows the regimen a better all-around athlete. Always remember to add a significant amount of stretching when doing plyometrics as this will help improve your range of motion and allow muscles to recover faster.

Visit the Kaiser Permanente ACL Injury Prevention Website to get even more information and videos about ACL prevention.

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