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Protecting Knees of Young Athletes

Posted Sep 24 2008 11:32am

Protecting Knees of Young Athletes I first heard of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in track practice in the late 90’s, when there was a discussion over one of our top hurdlers, who couldn’t competitor for a major meet.

There are a rising number of young athletes who experience problems with their knees, and mostly with the ACL. The ACL is the ligament that stabilizes the knee joint. It is one of four ligaments that provide stability to the knee joint and is made of a small fiber that is similar to a rubber-band, but only about as big as a finger. Most ruptures happen from twisting motions during sports, and most are non-contact injuries that happen from the athletes own body movements.

The medical operation to fix an ACL is problematic, because many children and adolescents that need ACL operations are not done growing. The operation involves drilling into a growth plate, which is an area of the leg bone that is still-developing at the time.

Girls are more prone to injury. An article in the New York Times called “ The Uneven Playing Field ” explains that as boys grow through adolescence, they develop higher levels of testosterone which allows them to gain muscle and get stronger faster. Girls however, tend to add fat as their estrogen levels increase, rather than muscle. This results in girls having to train at a more intense level in order to get stronger.

Prevent Injuries and Project the Knees

  • Give your body the time and attention it needs to rejuvenate.
  • Perform training drills that require jumping straight up and down without moving side-to side, helps with balance.
  • Warm-ups and cool downs help prevent injuries.

We throw our bodies on the field and treat them like the ball in a pinball game, banging into other athletes, and forcing our bodies to be pushed and pounded and put off balance. Ignoring the needs of your body can lead to ACL injuries. Taking care of our bodies off the field is not to be forgotten.

Written by: Isobella Jade

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