New emphasis placed on ACL injury prevention for young athletes

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- An epidemic of one type of sports injury has the attention of the nation's pediatricians. They say there's a way to cut the risk of an ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) tear by as much as 72 percent.

A twist of her knee during a soccer game last fall has turned into months of rehabilitation for Jasmine Collier following surgery. The 14-year-old tore an ACL, a ligament that provides stability for the knee.

"Just sitting out and watching sports is the worst part," said Jasmine.

Dan Lorenz of SSOR Physical Therapy in Overland Park says he sees a new ACL tear weekly.

"I had a parent last year who -- three girls on the daughter's team had torn their ACL within a month," said Lorenz.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the epidemic can be brought under control. A new report emphasizes neuromuscular training. Simply put, it's learning how to jump, land, bend and cut. It's also about developing more muscle power.

"I had no clue to do all these hip exercises that I have been doing. I had no clue," said Jasmine.

The physical therapist says he talks to coaches about the training.

"The things I'm hearing is we're doing those things, but who knows if they're actually doing them correctly. Or they don't have the time," said Lorenz.

He says if coaches aren't making the time, parents need to see that their young athletes get this training.

"They need to be doing activities on the side to strengthen their hips, their hamstrings, their core because all of those muscles control movement," said Lorenz.

Jasmine says she'll keep doing the exercises to try to prevent another ACL tear, and she'll pass them on to her teammates and friends.

"'Cause I wouldn't wish it on anyone," said Jasmine.

She hopes to return to soccer by next fall.

For a list of neuromuscular training programs, go to this link.


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