Friday, January 29, 2010

Answering the ACL epidemic with training, coaching

Should parents invest in specialized sports fitness and skills training for their kid athletes? Usually, I'm a skeptic about such programs. The younger the kids, the more skeptical I am. (Batting lessons for 7-year-olds? Why?)

In Thursday's Washington Post, there's an article worth reading about a training regimen for kids that makes total sense. Its purpose: reducing ACL injuries in girls.

The article relates how Patricia Lake, a "determined Bethesda mom" is protecting her daughter.

The story explains:

"Lake's daughter, Corinne, ruptured her ACL the day before her 15th birthday, the day after she made the Whitman High School varsity soccer team as a freshman. Because she had not finished growing, doctors were reluctant to drill into her femur, a routine part of repairing the ligament. They held off her surgery for six months.

"The operation was followed by grueling physical therapy and personal training. As Corinne grew stronger, Lake began to wonder how she could keep her daughter's strength and flexibility regimen on track and help spare other girls the same fate. She spoke with Corinne's physical trainer, Graham King, owner of Balance Sport and Fitness, who was eager to start a program for teen girls.

"Now, once or twice a week, a dozen girls on Corinne's travel soccer team work on protecting their knees in Balance's Dupont Circle facility, a converted high school gymnasium, while their parents get in workouts of their own."

Recently, I spoke with Dr. Andrew Gregory, co-author of a just-published report on soccer injuries in kids. The conversation swung to ACL injuries. He recommends that parents choose teams and leagues that train coaches in injury prevention. He's helping to educate coaches of the soccer team his daughter, Sarah, 11, plays on. (Once again proving the axiom: When possible, get your kid on a team with the child of an orthopedic surgeon).

"There are [education] programs that teach girls how to land correctly, how to cut with their knees and hips in good position," Dr. Gregory told me. "Those can be very effective."

1 comment:

Cal said...

Here's the link to an article from the USA Today in 2003 about ACL injuries in girls.

Basically, a researcher says that one must avoid the knock kneed position to stop these injuries.