Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
How To Save Your ACL
April 26th, 2007 7PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Dr. Dev Mishra

"You've torn your ACL." That's a phrase no player wants to hear. If you are a competitive soccer player, chances are fairly high that you know of a teammate (or perhaps yourself) who has sustained a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

The ACL is a ligament -- a tough fibrous structure that joins a bone to another bone -- that is a major stabilizer for the knee. In soccer it is critical in rotational movements such as planting, cutting and pivoting.

In the United States it is estimated that 250,000 people tear an ACL each year, and a substantial number of them will undergo reconstructive knee surgery. In my practice I am seeing ACL tears in girls as young as 12. Female athletes are particularly prone to injury.

In a study conducted at Duke University by Drs. Bing Yu and William Garrett a female athlete is more than seven times as likely to tear the ACL as a male athlete. A player unlucky enough to tear the ACL will have substantial lost playing time, and some players will not come back to the same level of play.

But recent studies suggest that specific training methods can reduce the number of ACL tears sustained by soccer players.

About 70 percent of ACL tears occur during non-contact movements such as decelerating or cutting while sprinting, or on landing from a jump. Improved mechanics for jumping, sprinting and cutting are at the heart of the programs designed to reduce the rates of ACL tears.

At a recent meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Drs. Julie Gilchrist and Bert Mandelbaum reported their results of a training program used on female collegiate soccer players. This free program was developed at the Santa Monica (Calif.) Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Research Foundation, and goes by the name "PEP," which stands for Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance. (http://www.aclprevent.com) The PEP program has reduced ACL injury rates by 72 percent -- a very impressive number.

Another program that is excellent is the Core Performance soccer training program designed by Mark Verstegen of Athletes' Performance.

The programs focus on form during jumping, sprinting, and cutting. They are also excellent for development of the "core" muscles -- large groups such as the abdominals, obliques and large leg muscles. They should be used at least three times per week.

The full program incorporates a warm-up, stretching, core strengthening, agility, and a form of jump training called plyometrics. As long as you adhere to the principles of proper form there is room to add variety to the program as your training progresses. For example, I like to emphasize more abdominal strengthening, and utilize small hurdles, rings and speed ladder. The programs can be used with any age group, male or female.

No training on earth can prevent the ACL tear that occurs from a vicious tackle, but I believe there is a great opportunity to reduce tears from non-contact events. At the very least, you will end up with better flexibility, power, speed and agility. Those are attributes any player would welcome.

Dr. Mishra is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Burlingame and Walnut Creek, Calif. He is a team physician for U.C. Berkeley, the California Victory USL-1 club, and the U.S. Soccer Federation. Mishra's Web site is www.thesoccerdoc.com.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
USA already behind the eight-ball in U-20 World Cup qualifying    
The USA's quest to qualify for the 2017 U-20 World Cup is in danger just one ...
Tab Ramos on keeper Jonathan Klinsmann, captain Erik Palmer-Brown and the U-20 World Cup qualifying quest    
Tab Ramos, who played for the USA in the 1983 U-20 World Cup, now aims to ...
Girls DA Director Miriam Hickey: Federation is best suited to support clubs and coaches    
Miriam Hickey has been named Director of the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy, that which off ...
Anson Dorrance on Girls DA vs. ECNL -- and why the focus should be on the youngest ages    
We asked Anson Dorrance for his views on the strife between U.S. Soccer and the ECNL, ...
James Bunce: 'Players all develop at different times'    
When James Bunce headed Southampton FC's youth program, its ranks included Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, now an Arsenal ...
Meet Tab Ramos' 20 players for U-20 World Cup qualifying    
The USA's quest to qualify for a third straight U-20 World Cup begins Feb. 18 against ...
Ankle Sprain: When can I play again?     
There's never a good time to be injured. As we come up to the end of ...
Boys Development Academy adds 165 new teams    
The Boys U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) will enter the 2017-18 season with 17 new clubs ...
U-17 stars leave residency for MLS; Four newcomers head to Bradenton    
By the time Christian Pulisic played for the USA at the 2015 U-17 World Cup, he ...
Jozy Altidore still having lots of 'serious fun'     
Jozy Altidore made his 100th appearance for the USA last Sunday, becoming, at age 27, the ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives