CHICAGO, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the hopes of many, Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn recently announced her withdrawal from the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games after a string of injuries to her anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, a ligament that provides rotation stability to the knee. World champion ski jumper Sara Hendrickson also had ACL surgery but is hoping for an injury-free gold medal performance this month. Physicians are concerned about what some call an "epidemic of ACL injuries".
Brian Cole, MD, sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) and head team physician for the Chicago Bulls who performed ACL surgery on Derrick Rose, says Vonn and Hendrickson are not alone among female athletes. He believes female athletes are at higher risk for ACL injuries due to their physiological makeup and other factors. A study by The American Academy of Pediatrics showed girls are up to eight times more at risk of an ACL tear than boys.
However, Dr. Cole's greatest concern is the rising number of young athletes – both male and female - who are sustaining ACL injuries, often because they are not receiving the training necessary to prevent knee injuries. There are as many as 300,000 ACL injuries in the U.S. every year and that number is growing. Philadelphia physicians reported a 400 percent increase in youth ACL injuries over the last decade.
"With the increasing number of young athletes in this country, we are seeing more exposure to high-risk activities placing a greater demand on the body," explains Dr. Cole. "This has contributed to an increase in ACL injuries."
Dr. Cole says that athletes should take breaks from their sports, cross train with non-impact sports and develop exercise regimens that improve core, stability and balance. For those who participate in skiing, basketball, soccer and other sports that may lead to ACL injuries, he recommends exercises that strengthen muscles around the knees.
Dr. Cole has helped design a Functional Sports Assessment (FSA) program, a test that measures an athlete's risk of getting an ACL injury or for recovering ACL patients who want assurance before they return to play. For information, contact: Donna Williams PT, MHS, (312) 432-2513, [email protected] or visit www.rushortho.com and search "FSA."
SOURCE Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush