Foundation teaches injury prevention exercises to young athletes

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Sports injuries are epidemic in young athletes, but there are ways to dramatically reduce the chances of your child will get hurt.  An Overland Park physical therapist has started a foundation to reach more kids, coaches and parents.

Ava Martin is getting ahead of the game, or games in her case.

"I play volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball," said Martin.

The Overland Park fifth grader is getting training from Dan Lorenz, a physical therapist, to reduce her chances of tearing an ACL, a knee ligament.  It's an injury that plagues female athletes at eight to 10 times the rate of males.

"We work on specifically landing mechanics, how to not let that knee get in a position of no return.  There are studies that have shown up to 88 percent reduction in injuries from one season to the next when you have an intervention." said Lorenz.

The physical therapist says anyone can do the exercises and benefit once you learn how to do them correctly.

"You don't necessarily have to spend tons of money for expensive training," said Lorenz.

He wants to provide free training and education to those in underserved areas of the Kansas City metro and rural communities. He's started a non-profit organization, The ASPIRE Foundation.

He and other volunteers work directly with teams, coaches and parents, who also get a training manual.  Besides ACL tears, there's help in reducing shoulder and elbow injuries in baseball and softball players, and information on safe weight training.

Ava's dad is using the exercises with her basketball team which he coaches.

"We can do these exercises, very simple to do.  A good way to warm up and cool down," Chris Martin said.

Ava says the exercises are helping her.

"I feel like it helps me stay stronger and put together," she said.

That should help her stay in the game.

If you have a team that could benefit from the training, call 913-904-1128 or e-mail:

Lorenz is also looking for professionals such as physical therapists and athletic trainers willing to volunteer to do the training.

To donate to the ASPIRE foundation, CLICK HERE.