The rate of ACL tears is rising among female athletes between the ages of 13 and 17.
A University of North Carolina Health Care release said its study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, found that over the last 13 years, there has been a 59 percent increase in the number of required reconstruction procedures of the knee among this group of athletes.
“There are proven injury prevention resources available, but the continued high rate of injuries suggests that they are not being implemented across the board,” Mackenzie Herzog, a doctoral candidate at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the study's lead author, said in the release.
Jeffrey Spang, the study's senior author, said coaches and league officials often believe that they need specific training to implement a sufficient injury-prevention program, according to the release.
“These prevention programs mostly involve warm-ups and specific exercises based on balance and jumping,” Spang said in the release. “I have three daughters who play in local soccer leagues, and I know getting injury prevention programs standardized across large organizations is challenging, but it’s important for parents and athletes to encourage their coaches and organizations to integrate an evidence-based program at all levels of sports participation.”
Spang and Herzog hope their research will encourage more coaches and other officials to put injury prevention programs into place, the release said.