With soccer season in full swing, it is not uncommon for the therapist at John Goetze Physical Therapy to see an increase in ACL tears. However, it may only take simple warm-up exercises to prevent one of the most common serious knee injuries suffered by youth athletes, especially female. In fact, current research conducted by The American Journal of Sports Medicine showed that the percentage of ACL tears has been reduced specifically in female college soccer players who incorporate “neuromuscular control exercise” into their programs.
Neuromuscular control exercise includes a combination of:
- Stretching – Hamstrings, quadriceps and groin musculature are the major groups.
- Strengthening – Core (abdominal) stabilization was noted as the key to preventing injury, in addition to the lower extremities.
- Plyometrics – Jumping, hopping, and skipping.
- Agility Drills – Wind sprints, cone drills.
A program such as this can help to address potential deficits in the strength and coordination of the stabilizing muscles around the knee joint. So be sure your coach or your physical therapist designs a program that will help improve balance, strength, and sports performance which can prevent the potential for an ACL tear.
Here’s the proof from The American Journal of Sports Medicine:
“More than 1,400 athletes from 61 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I women’s soccer teams participated in the study, and were divided into 2 groups. The overall ACL injury rate was 1.7 times less, and the non-contact ACL injury rate was 3.3 times less, in the athletes who performed specific intervention exercises 3 times a week during their fall season than in their peers who did not.”
So, always remember to WARM UP and come see us at JGPT to start your preventative conditioning!